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Ex Libra 
C. K. OGDEN 



c- 

OCA 



HYDE PARK. 




SELECT NARRATIVES, ANNUAL 
EVENTS, ETC., 

During twenty years' Police Service in Hyde Park, 
by 

EX-SERGT. EDWARD OWEN. 



LONDON: 
SIHPKIN, MARSHALL. HAMILTON, KENT & Co., LTD. 



STRAKERS', 

8-9, HAVNE STREET, W. S.MITHFIELD, 
LONDON, B.C. 



PREFACE. 



IN introducing this little book to the Public, I 
hope my Readers will kindly accept it in the 
simple language of a man of limited education. 

There is a saying, 1 believe, that " Truth is 
stranger than Fiction," consequently, as the few 
narratives I have selected in these pages are the 
truth, I venture to hope it may enliven the interest 
and make a little amends for absence of literary 
eloquence. 

Your humble Servant, 

THE AUTHOR. 



.181 



CONTENTS. 



Chap. Page 

I. HYDE PARK 7 

II. WINTER IN THE PARK 12 

III. ACCIDENTS ON THE Row, ETC 18 

IV. BATHING IN THE SERPENTINE 23 

V. SUNDAY IN HYDE PARK 26 

VI. MEET OF THE COACHING CLUBS 29 

VII. VAGRANTS 32 

VIII. SUICIDES 35 

IX. THE OLD REFORM TREE 38 

X. NIGHT DUTY IN HYDE PARK 40 

XI. FOGS 43 

XII. CYCLING IN THE PARK 46 

XIII. JUBILEE OF QUEEN VICTORIA 48 

XIV. APPREHENSION OF "SWELL" THIEVES... 51 

XV. A REMARKABLE " FIND " 55 

XVI. THE SERPEXTINE 57 

XVII. ROYALTY IN THE PARK 62 

XVIII. DOG MUZZLING 67 

XIX THE "GUARDS" AND "VOLUNTEERS" ... 72 

XX. SOCIALIST RIOTS 75 




HYDE PARK. 



PARK! There is only one Hyde Park, that 
is to say, there is possibly no other so univer- 
sally acknowledged as Hyde Park, London. 
It is familiar to both old and young, rich and 
poor not only to Londoners, but to visitors from all 
parts of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, to say 
nothing of America and Continental countries who visit 
us annually, and all or mostly all come to Hyde Park 
to see Society and Fashion. But my object is not to illus- 
trate the Park, or its attendant attractions, its history, 
traditionary associations, etc., I shall not venture to 
attempt. I will leave my readers to others more 
versed in such matters ; but, having served twenty 
years in the Police as Constable and Sergeant in Hyde 
Park, it has occurred to me that it may be somewhat 
interesting for me as a Police Officer to detail my ex- 
perience of a few of the many things that have happened 
during that period. I have retired on pension from the 
Police, now just four years, and, until recently, it never 
occurred to me to write a reminiscence of my time 
there, and yet it often seemed to me "something" to be 
able to say that I had served twenty years in such a 
fashionable locality. 

Retired Detective Officers often appear in print 
relating their adventures through the service, tracing, 
apprehending and bringing criminals to justice. I have 
read them, and found them very interesting, and generally 
accepted so, I think, by the public in general, so why should 
not a Uniform Officer be equally accepted ? At any rate, 
I have made up my mind to try. If only in a brief 
form, it may afford an interesting hour, and possibly 
a little information may be gleaned therefrom by those 



HYDE PARK. 



who do or may visit this charming " Royal " Park. 
And what I write I intend to stand by what I mean to 
say is, I have either witnessed with my own eyes or can 
satisfactorily vouch for; I also further state I shall con- 
fine myself to that which is entertaining or interesting 
to the most modest woman or the most worldly man, 
as Hyde Park, like most other London public resorts, 
is infested by a certain class of character, to whom I 
intend to make little or no reference. 

The Police Station where I served has given way 
to a more commodious and modern building of that 
name. (Rebuilt 1902.) I will, however, give a brief 
description of the old place as far as I am able to relate. 
Anyone walking by the footpath through Hyde Park 
from the Marble Arch to the Magazine, and when about 
halfway, would pass on their left-hand side a quaint one- 
storied old brick building, with its long verandah and 
grass lawn, surrounded with iron rails ; this was the 
Police Station,* certainly nothing to indicate it, being 
so different to the uniform building we see in the streets 
with the familiar blue glass lamp over the door ; not 
one out of every dozen that passed this place non- 
Londoners especially ever dreamt that it was a Police 
Station ; but a Police Station it had been for the last 
forty years at least. Yes, and some of the worst of 
characters have been marched under its portals, and 
placed in the iron oblong dock, from the " gentleman- 
got-up" thief, with his dust-coat on his arm, who moves 
about Society on the side of Rotten Row, to the dirty 
cad pickpocket who attends large demonstrations and 
steals all he can, from a pocket-handkerchief upwards; 
the cowardly bully who lives on the nightly immoral 
earnings of his paramour, and who, when she cannot 
give him the required sum he demands, knocks her with 
his fist flat to the ground. These and many more of 
a similar type have been brought to book in that old 
place. Happily the Park is better lighted now, and 
such characters as the last two mentioned are few and 
far between. 

I may add that I was selected by Inspector Pope, 

* Originally used as a .Military guard-room. 



HYDE PARK. 



then in charge of the Police at Hyde Park Station, to 
accompany him round the Park and assist him in sug- 
gesting in his report to the First Commissioner of Works 
where the present tall electric standards should be 
placed. It is not from any desire to boast that I make 
this observation ; but, considering I had then been 
traversing the Park on duty for the past seventeen 
years, I at least ought to know the haunts of these 
obnoxious individuals. It has had a threefold benefit. 
First, the extermination of such pests from the Park ; 
secondly, the public can now pass through these parti- 
cular parts with comfort and safety; and thirdly, it 
has certainly caused less work and anxiety to the police, 
for, if they were driven away one minute they would 
return almost the next, as, in the darkness, they could 
easily evade detection. 

About thirty of us single men resided in the old 
station, and, antiquated as it may have appeared out- 
side, it was clean and comfortable inside. On entering 
the doorway, right and left were the Inspector's (or 
Enquiry) Office, Charge-room and cells respectively ; 
passing a little further on the right, is the mess kitchen 
or dining-room ; continuing through brings you into the 
library, a nice spacious room, with its full-size billiard 
table and well-stocked book cupboards; through another 
door on the left brings you into the cooking kitchen ; 
following on leads along a passage down a few steps 
into the yard below, where we find the stables for the 
horses of the Mounted Police. This was the station I 
made my acquaintance with in April, 1874. 

To begin properly my career in the Police, I may as 
well state that I joined in the year 1871, then a young 
countryman with aspirations for the blue uniform in 
London. I started from my native place, Ludlow that 
quaint, historic little town in Shropshire and success- 
fully passing the necessary requirements, was posted to 
the "A" or Whitehall Division, King Street Station. 
Having served there just on three years, I was appointed 
to special duty in Hyde Park in the month and year 
above mentioned. After duly reporting myself to the 
Inspector in Charge, Mr. James Butler, the then Senior 



10 HYDE PARK. 



Inspector there were two Inspectors, the second in 
command being Mr. Charles Fraser, afterwards many 
years the Police Superintendent of H.M. the late Queen 
Victoria, and who, I may add, resided in married quar- 
ters attached to the station I was ordered for duty at 
six o'clock the next morning. And never shall I forget 
that morning. It is as vivid to me now, just on thirty 
years since, as if it were last week. I was posted to a 
beat in Kensington Gardens the Police then had the 
control of Kensington Gardens, also the Green Park, 
which were supplied from Hyde Park Station, but was 
superseded by the present Park constables in 1886. 

But to return to my beat in Kensington Gardens. 
I was shown round once by another constable. I com- 
menced at the Albert Memorial, down the centre path 
leading to Lancaster Gate, crossed over to the left or 
south side of the Round Pond, straight along to Ken- 
sington Palace, to the extreme end of the Gardens, and 
returning up the Flower Walk to where I started. It was 
a most beautiful morning. Being an exceptionally warm 
Spring that year, the rhododendrons, may, laburnum 
and lilac were in full bloom. The wood pigeons cooed 
on the tops of the white-blossomed chestnut trees, and 
the thrushes and blackbirds sang gaily. After being 
on duty as I had at King Street Station, and posted on 
traffic crossings, cab rank standings, etc., month after 
month, to tell the truth, I had had almost enough of 
it ; for to stand on a busy traffic crossing eight hours in 
all kinds of weather, wet or dry, hot or cold, which we 
had to do in those days, without a single five minutes 
for a little refreshment, was, as the saying goes, " not 
all beer and skittles," I can tell you but, however, 
things are arranged better now ; men don't have to 
stand so long at a stretch on a busy post so it was like 
being in Paradise to me, and when my tour of duty 
ended, well, I could scarcely realise that the time had 
passed away. But Hyde Park is the groundwork of my 
narrative ; still, I thought I would just mention the 
gardens, having frequently to do duty there, and possibly, 
before I close my tale, I may refer to that delightful 
place again. 



HYDE PARK. 11 

I cannot recall anything of any particular import- 
ance that happened during the season of 1874, my first 
season, little thinking I was going to see twenty as a 
Police Officer. Of course, there were the annual meets 
of the Four-in-Hand and Coaching Clubs, with its con- 
course of sightseers, the Row full of riders, and the 
endless ranks of carriages, especially on the occasion of 
H.M. Queen Victoria driving through the Park. It was 
a grand and imposing sight to me at first, but it all 
became familiar, and I soon settled down to my new 
duty in the ordinary way. Time sped along, the Season 
was over, and we quickly had winter upon us. 




II. WINTER IN THE PARK. 

|j|T was in December I first had my experience in 
||g " Ice Duty," that is, when the Serpentine is 
frozen over. So many Police Constables are 
posted along the banks to prevent persons going 
on to skate or slide until it is considered safe by 
some official appointed from "The Office of Works." 
Colonel Wheatley, in his capacity as Park Bailiff, 
was for many years entrusted with this responsible 
duty. Major Clive Hussey now holds the position. 
The Long Water, as a rule, was the first portion of the 
lake to be opened, as the water is much more shallow 
in that particular spot than the Serpentine, varying 
from three to five feet up to the west or Magazine 
Bridge, which divides the above from the Serpentine. 
I must explain although one distinct lake that portion 
in Kensington Gardens is known as the Long W r ater. 
Beyond the bridge and entering the Serpentine the 
water becomes gradually deeper, and in some parts 
attains a depth of fourteen feet; greater precautions 
are, of course, taken before this part is opened, that is 
to say, while the frost continues a hole in the ice is 
bored, and measured every morning, and must at least 
be four or five inches in thickness before skating is 
permitted upon it. I have known the ice I believe it 
was in the " eighties," anyhow a most severe winter 
of such a thickness that a gentleman drove a dogcart 
tandem across the deepest part of the lake a freak, of 
course, possibly for a wager, for all I know. Taking 
advantage of the early morning, when things are toler- 
ably quiet, he succeeded in driving safely from shore to 
shore ; he did not, however, escape scot free, for en- 
dangering his own and other people's lives, for he was 
met on the other side by a police constable, the result 



WINTER IN THE PARK. 13 



being a summons before the Magistrate for " driving on 
an unauthorised place," which cost him a little for his 
adventure. 

In this particular month (December, my first 
winter) I witnessed a sad fatality that has never been 
erased from my mind. The ice at this time was about 
an inch or two in thickness. It is an astonishing fact 
that at the first appearance of frost, and when the ice 
will hardly more than bear a duck, scores of people will 
flock down to the sides, with their skates under their 
arms, and look most wistfully at the ice, and would 
really risk their very lives if it were not for the police 
preventing them. In the case I am about to relate the 
poor young fellow did more than risk it for he lost it. 
He was a young Belgian of good position, so 1 was 
informed at the well-known firm of Swan and Edgar, 
Drapers, etc., Regent Street, who had come over here 
to acquire a knowledge of the business. He, with 
two young ladies, about eight p.m., like many others, 
walked down to the Serpentine in hopes of " having 
them on " for half-an-hour, but, to his dismay, notice 
boards and police were there prohibiting anyone doing 
so ; I suppose the temptation was too strong, for, 
watching his opportunity, he, I was told, slipped on 
his skates in a jiffey and soon glided about fifty yards 
from the shore (this was at the east end of the lake, 
near to the little or east end bridge), but he had not 
gone more than that distance before there was a 
crash, and in he went into about eight or ten feet of 
water. Shouts and screams for help attracted my at- 
tention. 1 was on duty near "William's" boat-house, 
and ran round to the bridge. I could just see the poor 
fellow in the darkness clinging to an expanding ice-lad- 
der which had been pushed out to him. Several plucky 
attempts had been made to rescue him, but each one 
on going on the ice about half-a-dozen yards went 
through, and had to scramble back the best way they 
could. Poor old John Winnett, the ferry boatman on 
the Serpentine for many years, arrived on the scene 
with his cork jacket, and he, like the others, had not 
gone far before the ice gave way ; but his jacket kept 



14 HYDE PARK. 



him up, and he battled and broke away at the ice with 
one of the long drag poles like a good-one. With 
strained eyes we watched him as he crashed his way 
nearer and nearer toward the drowning man, and, I 
should say, got within half-a-dozen yards, when we 
heard an awful gasp for breath from the head we 
could just dimly see clinging to the ladder, and all at 
once it disappeared beneath the ice. It was all over, 
he had held on till exhaustion and cold caused him to 
succumb. It was distressing to hear the piteous cries 
of the poor young ladies who had accompanied him. 
A sledge* boat had by this time been brought up by 
land ; we very soon launched it, and broke away the ice 
until the spot was reached. With pole-hooks we soon 
dragged the body up, and got it ashore, and without the 
least delay bore it to the Royal Humane Society's 
Receiving House, situate on the north side of the Ser- 
pentine, where all possible means were applied to restore 
animation pending the arrival of a doctor, who soon 
stated it was of no avail. A sad and sudden end, I 
thought to a fine young fellow ! When stripped, I 
never saw a man of more splendid physique. 

Although a body may have been under water for 
some considerable time, life is not despaired of at this 
Institution (The R.H. Society's Receiving House). The 
"Silvester" method of "artificial respiration to the 
apparently drowned " is energetically applied until the 
arrival of a doctor who decides as to whether or not 
death has placed their efforts beyond all doubt. A small 
pamphlet, written by Dr. Silvester, on the treatment of 
the above, and obtainable from the R.H. Society, con- 
tains invaluable information for in many cases a steady 
and persevering application has been rewarded with 
gratifying results. 

When the Serpentine or a portion of it is reported 
to be safe, all is plain sailing, and it is a fine sight to see 
the thousands of ladies and gentlemen, soldiers, boys and 
girls, all intermixed, enjoying their skating and sliding, 

* Specially built for and supplied by the R.H.S. in case of immersion. 
Sledge-like runners are affixed underneath the bottom of these boats, enabling 
them to be easily pushed over the ice cr frosty ground to wherever they may be 
required. 



WINTER IN THE PARK. 15 



The evenings on such occasions are novel sights, for 
probably there are then more people on the ice than in 
the daytime. The shops and other business places 
being closed, it becomes practically crowded. To stand 
on the Magazine Bridge and witness the moving mass of 
lights, made up of torches, Chinese and other lanterns, 
etc., carried by the skaters, presents a most fantastical 
scene. One thing I cannot understand ; it seems to me 
to have such a fascination that some people don't care 
what money or property they risk in order to indulge in 
this recreation. On the announcement that the ice is 
safe, so many tickets or permits are issued for the hiring 
of skates at the Superintendent's (of the Park) Office, 
adjoining the Police Station Superintendent Browne 
in my time Mr. J. Gardner now holds the appointment 
these are given to any apparently honest applicant. 
There is usually a big rush for them, and, unfortunately 
for the hirers, they are not all honest. These men stand 
on the side of the ice with their chairs, the tickets pinned 
conspicuously in front of their hats, with half-a-dozen or 
so pair of skates, and shout " On or off, ladies and gents, 
skates to hire ! Who'll have a pair on ? " and other such 
inviting exclamations to attract attention. They charge, 
I believe, about one shilling an hour, and always require 
a deposit on the skates. I have known plenty of cases 
where people have left five or six shillings on a pair of 
skates not worth eighteenpence; they take the number 
of the man's card, but, on their return the man, number, 
card, and all, have disappeared. One particular case I 
remember. A commercial traveller passing through the 
park thought he would like to " have a pair on." He 
left his box (or bag) of samples in charge of one of these 
men also a deposit on the skates, and all was missing on 
his return. He came to the station and reported his 
loss. He said they would be of little or no value to the 
thief, as they were only miniature samples of cutlery. 
But it meant a loss of 20 to him. 

Having given us all the information he could, the 
gentleman was assured that we should do all that lay in 
our power to trace the man that had charge of his 
property. Still, it was a great chance, as the police 



16 HYDE PARK. 



had nothing whatever to do with the issuing of the 
tickets to these men, consequently we could not be 
responsible for the correctness of names and addresses 
given by them. As it was getting dusk, the Inspector, 
at the gentleman's request, sent me to show him the 
way to Paddington Station. I accompanied him across 
the Park, and put him in the direct street for that 
terminus. He thanked me, and kindly gave me a 
shilling for my little assistance, but he appeared very 
crestfallen, and I could not help feeling sorry to see 
him go off empty-handed without even his umbrella 
(which he had also left with his case of samples). 
However, I believe that a better system and more 
precautions are now taken to protect the public in 
such matters. 

Sometimes a rapid thaw would set in, consequently 
it became necessary to clear the ice (or serious results 
would surely follow) not an easy task, for all the warn- 
ing persuasion and shouting "All off ! " was of no avail 
to some of those enthusiastic skaters who would persist 
in dodging and evading us. It was very amusing, I have 
no doubt, for those on the bank to stand and witness us 
slipping about after these bravadoes ; but it was not so 
with us. One of our men, I remember, received a severe 
cut at the back of his head from a fall. So we had to 
resort to the rope, that is to say, one of the long ropes 
that lie on the bank in readiness for rescue purposes in 
cases of immersion, was brought into requisition. Some 
dozen of us with this extended right across the ice and 
in skirmishing order, proceeded down the whole length 
of the lake, and eventually succeeded in making a clear- 
ance. I scarcely need state that those who were daring 
enough (and some did) to evade this obstacle were lucky 
if they escaped without getting tripped up on their back. 
This comical method of clearing the ice by the police 
was humorously depicted in " Punch," January, 1887. 

Although having served twenty years in Hyde Park, 
I am not going to attempt to enumerate year after year 
in succession what happened to the end of that period. 
In fact I could not do so. I kept no diary while in the 
Service, and, as I have already stated, never dreamt of 



WINTER IN THE PARK. 



17 



writing a history of it. Had I done so it would have 
been comparatively easy, for I could have furnished 
myself with names, dates, etc., of events at the time ; 
but, as it is, I have had to tax my memory I am thank- 
ful to say 1 have a tolerably good one and hunt up old 
comrades and acquaintances to verify anything I have 
a doubt about. So I shall refer to different cases and 
occurrences that the police have to deal with in as 
interesting a form as I can, but I cannot confine myself 
consecutively. 




III. ACCIDENTS ON THE ROW, Etc. 

ACCIDENTS from collisions with carriages, and 
from ridden horses bolting or stumbling, are 
frequent in the Season. The policeman has 
to be most cautious in the case of a collision between 
two vehicles; he must be cool and collected, for 
there is a lot to be done and thought of. Should 
there be any personal injury, it must be attended to 
first. Medical aid must be procured, either by sending 
for a doctor or conveying the injured to hospital. The 
latter is the usual practice. The names and addresses 
of the owner and driver of each vehicle, and of the in- 
jured persons, the damage done, whatever it may be ; 
the names of witnesses (if any), position of vehicles, etc. 
all must be dotted down in the pocket or report book, 
and a nice job it is. Usually when a collision happens 
a crowd gets round in a very short time, and you are 
sure to have half-a-dozen inquisitive necks stretched 
over your shoulder or arm watching you write down 
your particulars. I have had to elbow my way out of 
a circle of these intruders many a time. Personal 
injury is not so frequently caused from carriage acci- 
dents as from horses ridden, horses bolting with the 
lady or gentleman riding on the Row, or stumbling when 
going over the stone crossings, are daily occurrences ; 
and I have seen some terrible injuries sustained both 
by rider and the unfortunate pedestrian who happens 
to get in the way. The Mounted Police in the Row 
have done some very good service in such cases. One 
in particular, Constable Dodd, had a clever method of 
galloping alongside the runaway horse, and gradually 
pulling it up by the reins. 1 know he had been rewarded 



ACCIDENTS ON THE ROW, ET<*. 19 



and commended by the Commissioner for his pluck a 
dozen times, to say nothing of the many gratuities he 
had presented him by various ladies and gentlemen for 
services rendered. 

The late Attorney-General, Sir Robert Finlay, 
when O.C., had a nasty fall from his horse one morning 
in the Row. How it occurred I cannot quite call to 
mind whether the horse bolted or whether it stumbled 
but he had struck his head in the fall, and was ren- 
dered unconscious. I happened to be on duty at Hyde 
Park Corner as he was being brought along on the 
ambulance by Mr. Hall, the Apsley Gate-keeper. I 
assisted in getting him into St. George's Hospital, 
where he was placed on a couch, and soon attended by 
a doctor. On recovering consciousness he asked what 
had been the matter. He was informed by a gentleman 
friend who accompanied him what had occurred, and 

he replied, " Was I riding ? " (the horse's name). 

He was answered in the affirmative. I remember the 
late Sir James Hannen, who frequently walked down 
the side of Rotten Row on his way to the Law Courts, 
happened to be passing at the time, and, hearing that 
it was the eminent O.C. that had met with the acci- 
dent, he very considerately walked over to St. George's 
Hospital, and sent in his card to Sir Robert, and ex- 
pressed his regret at what had happened to him. I am 
glad to say, after a short time, Sir Robert was able to 
leave the hospital and proceed home, not much the 
worse. 

One of the most extraordinary of these accidents 
that I know of happened during the evening ride on the 
Row. Years ago the evening ride between five and 
seven was then as fashionable as the morning is at 
present. In fact, I have seen it so crowded with riders 
that a runaway would be impossible, even if one were 
ever so inclined. Those were the times when that elegant- 
looking horse-woman regularly attended the evening 
ride familiarly known on the Row by the name of 
" Polly Skittles." Almost first to arrive and last to 
leave, her fine figure, and beautiful thoroughbred 
chestnut, with its proud arched neck and high step, 



20 HYDE PARK. 



were undoubtedly objects of considerable attraction. 
But latterly the carriage drive only is indulged in during 
the evening. However, on the occasion I was about to 
refer to, a lady's horse bolted up the Row, and galloped 
in the direction of Kensington Gardens, no one having 
succeeded in checking its career, it dashed across the 
roadway at the top of the " Lady's Mile," * and made 
an attempt to jump the iron rails that divide Hyde Park 
from Kensington Gardens ; these rails, which are about 
six feet high and pointed at the top luckily perhaps for 
the lady the horse was unable to clear, and was spiked 
through the shoulders, where it hung the lady pitched 
head first into the Gardens, and was not much the 
worse for the fall. The horse was eventually removed 
and destroyed. 

The most awful fatal accident that came under my 
observation, caused by being thrown from a horse, was 
in the case of Major Macdonald, of the - - High- 
landers. One morning as he was cantering off the Ride 
on the Bayswater side of the Park, mounted on a beau- 
tiful white Arab, he was returning home after his 
morning's ride, going over the stone crossing on the 
roadway near the Marble Arch Gate, his horse stumbled 
and slipped forward, pitching the Major clean out of the 
saddle on to his head, inflicting a terrible wound. Death, 
I should say, must have been instantaneous, but he was 
conveyed with all possible speed on the ambulance (one 
happened to be stationed near the Marble Arch) to 
St. George's Hospital, and the House Surgeon was soon 
in attendance, but he stated him to be dead. Then 
came the question Who was the gentleman ? for a 
gentleman he certainly was from his appearance, and 
evidently of good birth. No one knew at the time of 
the accident, and no one accompanied us to the hos- 
pital; but the most astonishing part of it was not a 
card, pocket-book, letter or scrap of anything could the 

* Tradition gives the " Lady's Mile " originally to be situate 
on the present " Ring Road," on the north side, and parallel 
with the Serpentine ; but for many years now the Straight Mile 
on the "Row" has been recognised by the above fashionable 
name. 



ACCIDENTS ON THE ROW, ETC. 21 



constable or I find on his person. Search as we did 
blood-saturated as some of them were, every single 
garment, pockets, lining, under-linen, over and over 
again there was not even an article of jewellery with 
name or initials to assist us in his identity in short, 
nothing but the clothing he wore. I noticed the name 
of the maker on the tab or loop of his jacket. This 
certainly was something (as I once traced the identity 
of a man found dead in Hyde Park by the maker's name 
on the buttons of a new suit of clothing he had on), so 
I at once directed the constable to go to that establish- 
ment (in Old Bond Street or Piccadilly I believe it was), 
with a description of the suit a grey tweed and 
ascertain, if he could, any information. I myself 
hastened to our station, with a full description of the 
body and clothing, which was speedily telegraphed 
round to all the police stations, so that on his being 
missed, enquiries by his friends at any police station in 
London would be referred to Hyde Park for particulars. 
Yet things must not rest at that ; every means must be 
resorted to in order to get the body identified and 
friends informed as soon as possible that is the first 
and bounden duty of the police in a fatal case. The 
Arab horse had been brought to the station and secured 
in the stable yard, apparently none the worse for the 
fall. Then it occurred to me, and the Inspector on duty, 
that possibly some information from one of the pro- 
prietors of the many livery stables, horse repositories, 
etc., in the vicinity of the Marble Arch, might be obtained 
concerning the Arab. On this errand I at once started. 
I am sure I had a good two hours' tramping from one 
yard to another without success, and was almost giving 
it up and going back to the station to see if any news 
had arrived, when I looked in at " Hetherington's," 
Edgware Road, and after again relating the occurrence, 
Mr. Hetherington gravely shook his head and said he 
was sorry he could not assist me in the matter ; but 
a gentleman who happened to be in the office, and had 
heard what had passed, said to me as I was about to 
leave : " 1 believe I have seen a white Arab come out 
of a mews near Portman Square." I quickly proceeded 



22 HYDE PARK. 



to that neighbourhood, which of course is only a few 
minutes' walk, and after a few enquiries I found the 
stables where an Arab was kept, and, I am glad to say, 
the one in question, for I was soon informed the name 
and address of the deceased gentleman by the groom, 
who also said he had been anxiously waiting hours for 
the return of the horse and his master. 




IV. BATHING IN THE SERPENTINE. 

course most people who come to the Park of 
an evening are aware of the swarm of small 
boys who assemble on the bathing ground (or 
space), some four hundred yards allotted for that 
purpose on the south shore, who have been waiting 
hours before the time, especially after a hot day in 
July ; (they come in droves and batches from all 
quarters of London) anxiously looking for the signal to 
plunge in and this signal was the approach of the 
Royal Humane Society boats from the opposite side of 
the water, exactly at half-past seven, to be in readiness 
to render assistance to any of the bathers that may be 
in danger of drowning three as a rule, one at each end 
of the boundary and one in the centre. 

I assure you it is no easy job for the police a few 
minutes before the approach of these boats to keep 
them from undressing and plunging in, the eagerness 
of the young rascals being so great. When I say " un- 
dressing" I mean stripping off what little they have 
on the word is superfluous, for to keep them from un- 
dressing long before the time was a matter of impossi- 
bility; it appeared a certain amount of gratification to 
them to undress, and it was only with firmness and 
intimidation of sending them away altogether that they 
could be prevailed upon to squat about with even their 
shirts on. We usually supplied ourselves with a light 
stick or cane, and shook it at them in a threatening 
manner, occasionally impressing upon them the fact 
that they would get a taste of it, if they did not behave 
themselves, or we should have been overrun ; and even 
when the boats did appear, and the shout went up 
" All in! " I have been in a state of suspense while the 
boats were coming across, as in sheer excitement the 
smaller ones were so apt to get out of their depth. But 
it is surprising owing, 1 believe, to the promptness and 



24 HYDE PARK. 



watchfulness of the R.H.S.'s boatmen under Mr. Supt. 
Horton that very few casualties happen ; and when 
you come to consider, three men have to keep at this 
particular rush (I don't think I shall be exaggerating) 
between six and seven hundred bathers, young and old, 
under their observation, I think you will admit all credit 
is due to this Society. A scene of excitement now takes 
place, the splashing, laughing and yelling one to another 
in their intense delight for the first few minutes are 
perfectly deafening, and is heard almost all over the 
Park ; many, I am sure, hear this din and wonder 
where it proceeds from. 

After the bathe and the excitement are over, then 
comes the dressing business, and often trouble with it, 
for I have frequently known a youngster's neighbour 
take a fancy for his superior pair of boots, leaving his 
inferior pair instead, and often not even that considera- 
tion shown, to say nothing of the squabbles one with 
another brought about by the intermixing of each other's 
clothing. 

So much for evening bathing. Just a little about 
the morning that takes place from five to eight o'clock, 
all the year round. This may be doubted, so far as the 
attendance is concerned, but it is actually true, for, frost 
or no frost, there are an exceptional few elderly bathers 
who come regularly and have their morning dip ; even 
should the ice be ever so thick, they manage to keep a 
sufficient space so as to have a plunge at this one 
particular spot. I have often seen them with a drag 
pole breaking the ice which had frozen since the 
morning before. 

There is also the Christmas morning swimming race 
by members of the Serpentine Swimming Club, of course 
weather permitting; what I mean to say is, let the 
weather be ever so rough and cold, if the frost has not 
been too severe and the course is clear of ice, the race 
comes off about a hundred yards, I believe, and quite 
far enough too, for the competitors are very glad to get 
out and dress ; they have plenty of attendance from 
their friends, who supply them with liberal drinks of 
hot rum and milk to drive the cold out. If any of my 



BATHING IX THE SERPENTINE. 25 

readers have any doubt as to the authenticity of this 
race taking place (it certainly sounds incredible), I would 
refer them to the Sporting Life newspaper or the Secre- 
tary of the S.S.C., Mr. Rowlly, and they will soon be 
assured on the matter. The summer morning bathing 
is much more pleasant to stand about and witness. 1 
have seen some fine short distance handicap races given 
there by the above club during bathing hours. Some 
of my readers may remember Dave Ainsworth, the 
champion short distance swimmer, an old member of 
the S.S.C. Of course he was always scratch man in a 
race. I have seen the limit man in a hundred yards 
race apparently within twenty yards of the winning flag 
before the starter, with watch in hand, has given Dave 
the word " Go." He has gone off the diving plank like 
an arrow, and ploughed through the water after the 
style of a little steam launch pass a dozen, and nearly, 
if not quite, win. I have witnessed these races many 
times with great interest. 

A race introduced since my time, but most cer- 
tainly worthy of mention for its humane idea, is the 
Lord Howard de Walden's " Clothes Race " (everything 
on no undressing) ; it is generously encouraged with 
prizes given by that nobleman and also by Mr. Burdett 
Coutts. Other gentlemen also present prizes to be com- 
peted for in the ordinary races. Last, but not least, is a 
handsome cup presented annually by the proprietors of 
The Daily Telegraph newspaper, known as the " Daily 
Telegraph Cup." 

I may add the police are always on duty there 
during bathing hours, to see that the rules of the Park 
are not infringed. 



V. SUNDAY IN HYDE PARK. 

|gft||LTHOUGH (to speak my mind frankly) I never 
fPffl cared for Sunday duty, yet 1 must say I have 
passed away some pleasant hours, as it was 
entirely different and a change from the week-day 
routine. Sunday in Hyde Park has a very different 
aspect to the week-day. People using Hyde Park on 
a week-day and not on a Sunday, and people using 
it on a Sunday and not on a week-day, take little or 
no notice ; but people using it both days must observe 
a great contrast, especially in the summer. The 
carriage drive, with its long rank of traffic consisting 
of broughams, curricles, landaus, etc., some standing, 
some moving. On Sunday, with the exception of a 
bicycle or motor" passing through, scarcely a vehicle is 
to be seen. Rotton Row, with its numerous riders 
galloping to and fro to-day not a single one. The Ser- 
pentine, dotted all over with its pleasure boats not one 
to be seen until the afternoon, with the exception of a 
few model yachts (if there is any breeze) being sailed 
across by some elderly men who take an interest in this 
simple amusement on Sunday mornings. All is peace 
and tranquility. 

On the banks of the Serpentine here certainly the 
peacefulness is somewhat disturbed by the barking of 
dogs in their delight at jumping into the water after 
sticks thrown in by their owners ; but this chiefly hap- 
pens in the morning only, and of course is only a minor 
matter. The sides of the Row, the Flower Walk, and 
the different paths, say from about eleven to one o'clock, 
are thronged with people of all classes, but quiet and 
orderly. Then there is what is called the " Church 
Parade," which extends from Rotton Row as far as 

* I may here remark, electric and motor cars in the Park 
when I left were not nearly so common as at the present time, 
and I must pass on without a single incident concerning that 
now fashionable equipage. 



SUNDAY IX HYDE PARK. 27 

Grosvenor Gate. This so-called church parade is 
composed principally of the nobility who reside in 
the neighbourhood of the Park and like a short con- 
stitutional walk before returning home after attending 
the morning service. On a fine day this in itself is a 
sight worth witnessing the varied tints and colours of 
the ladies' dresses and sunshades produce a brilliant 
scene, exceptionally so on what is termed " Ascot 
Sunday," being the Sunday following the races. The 
path from the Achilles Statue to Stanhope Gate I 
have frequently seen so crowded that one could only 
move at a snail's pace. Also the " Flower Walk," 
between Stanhope and Grosvenor Gates is a favourite 
stroll. 

I will now pass over till about six o'clock, and intro- 
duce my readers to the so-called "Vanity Fair," and that 
is a triangular-shaped lawn, situate between the Achilles 
Statue and Stanhope Gate, fronting the carriage drive, 
and immediately opposite Hamilton Gardens. A path 
some five hundred yards long, which bears the name of 
the " Lover's Walk," runs at the rear, with its beautiful 
avenue of trees giving it a pleasant-looking background. 
Why this particular spot is called "Vanity Fair" I 
could not explain. I can only say this, that undoubtedly 
the very elite and cream of London Society, will be 
found there at this time during the Season, having a 
chat and tete-a-tetc prior to going home to dine. Not 
an inch of ground or a single chair but what is occupied, 
and I believe there are some thousands. 

By seven o'clock most have left, and there is nothing 
to remain for. Sometimes an umbrella, parasol, or fan, 
or other article may be left on a chair, which is taken 
charge of by the police, the loser being able to regain it 
if applied for at the station. 

I shall now proceed towards the Marble Arch, 
where religious and other small gatherings are held on 
the grass near that gate about this time. The Church 
Army usually occupy the corner of the Broad Path, and 
in close proximity others of different sects, etc. ; you can 
hear the Atheist holding discussions with the Christian 
(a time limit being mutually arranged for each speaker), 



28 HYDE PARK. 



in fact, orators or rather would-be orators of all classes 
venting their preconceived notions, grievances, etc., which 
ever the case may be. Sometimes they get very warm in 
their debates, consequently it is necessary for the police 
to be near in case of disorder. A little farther down 
on the grass, and almost opposite Brook Street Gate, 
Mr. Charles Cooke holds his Sunday Evening Prayer 
Meetings the earnest evangelist who, for the past 
thirty years every summer conducts his Sunday even- 
ing services on this particular spot. A more orderly 
and better conducted gathering one could not desire ; 
the singing of his choir I used to stand and listen to 
with pleasure, although perhaps our presence was really 
not necessary; still one never knows in Hyde Park when 
some rowdy person or other is likely to come along and 
cause a disturbance, and I think Mr. Cooke was always 
pleased to see the man in blue standing on the outskirts 
of his meeting. 

The shades of night are gathering around, most of 
the meetings have sung their last hymn and dispersed, 
a few certainly are standing in groups and holding little 
arguments, but all is quiet ; and I hear the strains of 
the band playing " God Save the Queen," which means 
it is just on ten o'clock, and so ends my tour of duty, 
and I make my way to our station. One of the Guards 
Bands, as most people are aware, now plays in the 
band-stand (situate near Hyde Park Corner) on Sunday 
evenings from 7 till 9 p.m. ; but during my service a 
band under the direction of Mr. V. L. Shotton played 
from 7 till 10 p.m., as on a week-day during the present 
summer months. 



VI. MEET OF THE FOUR-IN-HAND 
AND COACHING CLUBS. 

Meets of the above in Hyde Park are red 
letter days to the police, and I believe the 
general public are equally interested, judging 
from the attendance to witness these fashionable 
" turn-outs." They are undoubtedly one of the 
greatest attractions of the London Season. I am not 
going to attempt to describe the origin or merits of 
these particular clubs any more than saying that none 
but the highest noblemen of the land are members of 
either; my humble efforts are simply confined to police 
duty on these occasions. As I said before, we looked 
forward to these events with anxiousness, as we prided 
ourselves on having carried out this duty on our own 
no assistance from outside divisions, and, judging from 
the congratulatory letters received by the Commissioner 
from the Secretary of the Clubs, I believe everything 
was done satisfactorily. Every man available, of course, 
was required, for I must say in all my experience there 
was only one occasion that a greater number of people 
would come to the Park, and that was on the occasion 
of Her Majesty the late Queen Victoria driving through 
the Park in the Season on her return journey from 
Buckingham Palace to Windsor, usually about 5 p.m. ; 
in the ordinary way the Park is pretty full at that time, 
but the desire to see Her Majesty and that combined, 
I must give that occasion precedence. Of course, I am 
speaking of annual events, not of those that would 
crop up promiscuously, such as large political demon- 
strations, etc. 

But to return to the principal topic of this chapter. 
There were usually two Meets each of these clubs during 
the season, as a rule one each before Ascot and one each 
before Goodwood Race Meetings." One o'clock was the 

One out of the four of these Meets usually takes place in 
St. James's Park, on the Horse Guards' Parade, at six o'clock 
in the evening -invariably the last of the Season. 



30 HYDE PARK. 

hour for the Meet to start, and about half an hour before 
that time they commenced to assemble on a fine piec< 
of carriage roadway, some hundred and fifty yards long 
and between twenty and thirty wide, in close proximity 
to the Magazine. We always paraded about twelve 
o'clock under the trees in front of this spot, and each 
man told off to his respective post by the inspector in 
charge And very soon work commences, for carriages, 
broughams, landaus, etc., begin to come from all direc- 
tions to take up their positions; these the police have 
to rank in as even and close as possible, each side c 
the road, and take particular notice that only i 
authorised ranks take up a position, double rank one 
side and single the other; but, of course, this i 
depends upon the width of the road and at the discre- 
tion of the inspector in charge, where he considerec 
necessary that every facility be given for the coaches to 
pass. The route usually taken is, starting at the Maga- 
zine, along Ring Road to Hyde Park Corner turning 
to right up Carriage Road via Albert, Prince of Wales, 
and Alexandra Gates, leaving the Park by Queen's 
Gate. As the coaches approach the starting or meeting 
place they are met and escorted by a mounted con- 
stable, and placed in their respective positions by the 
orders of the Secretary, Mr. F. R. Lovegrove, who is o 
the ground ready waiting for them. I must refer my 
readers to the members of the Press for a description 
of these beautiful, high-mettled, prancing "teams" it is 
not in my power to give them half the praise they de 
serve, and I am not going to attempt it ; but I certainly 
read the reports in the newspapers with pleasure, and not 
only of the horses, but the owner on the box, with reins 
and whip in hand, and the other occupants are all given 
in the most minute details by these gentlemen. 

No vehicle of any kind is allowed on the space 
allotted to the " Meet " with one exception Her 
Majesty Queen Alexandra (when Princess of Wales), 
driving in her phaeton and pair. Her Royal Highness 
was one of the earliest to arrive on the ground, and 
appeared to take great interest in the teams as they 
arrived. Equestrians were permitted to rank close to 



MEET OF THE COACHING CLUBS. 31 

the iron rails on the side of the roadway, and, of course, 
plenty of pedestrians would get in front of them, and 
as close to the coaches as the police would allow. My 
post for several years, in fact up to the time I retired, 
was on the Serpentine Bridge myself and two con- 
stables, one at each side. My orders were that no 
vehicle of any kind was to remain on or near the 
approaches to the bridge ; and a harassing time it was, 
for what with the turning back of the excess traffic 
when the ranks en route were full, and loitering and 
grumbling cabmen who persisted they had been in- 
structed to wait for their fares, it was no easy matter 
to carry out, and I was most thankful when the signal 
was given the coaches had started. My orders also 
were that on the last coach leaving the Magazine I 
should at once proceed with my two men to Queen's Gate, 
and prevent any obstruction to the teams leaving the 
Park on their way to Hurlingham or Ranelagh, and as 
there were no police to be spared prior to this, we had 
to lose no time in getting there. I usually cut across 
the corner of Kensington Gardens, and have run nearly 
the whole way ; and we were not the only ones that 
hurried up, for when the last coach had left, a rush, 
almost amounting to a stampede, occurs, for equestrians, 
pedestrians and vehicles made a pell-mell rush over the 
bridge for the Alexandra and Queen's Gates, to see 
them pass by. This in itself is an amusing spectacle 
to witness ; everyone seems in a good humour, and 
takes a delight in this sharp rush for a few minutes, 
after standing about for so long. I have never known 
of any accident in consequence, for, as I have said, the 
bridge and road were comparatively free of traffic, so 
they had a clear course for their run. 

The whole of the coaches do not proceed to Hurling- 
ham ; a few of the members, upon arriving at Queen's 
Gate, will turn round and drive through the Park again 
until time to go home for luncheon. There were usually 
about twenty members sometimes more, sometimes 
less attend their respective club meets. 



VII. VAGRANTS. 

" Homeless, ragged and tanned, 

Under the changeful sky, 
Who so free in the land ? 
Who so contented as I ? " 

(Old Song) " The Vagabond." 

iGABONDS, tramps, casuals of all classes, have 
free access to the Park. On a hot summer's 
day, passing from the Marble Arch Gate down 
by the side of the North Ride, they may be seen 
stretched out on the grass basking in the sun like 
alligators. At least they were pretty well allowed to 
do so during -my service, for the simple reason that 
there was no rule that one could with confidence act 
upon to prevent them. But, thank goodness, a more 
stringent and peremptory rule has been recently intro- 
duced, which I hope will in time be the means of 
exterminating these objectionable-looking characters 
from the Park altogether. This duty had to be done 
very cautiously. To nine people out of every ten who 
came into the Park it was a most unpleasant sight to 
see these dirty, ragged, greasy-looking fellows lying, 
some on the broad of their backs, with mouths open, 
snoring away to their heart's content. Often we used 
to try and get rid of them by rousing them up and 
ordering them outside, and, if possible, could prove they 
were breaking the then existing rule, they were occa- 
sionally taken to the station and charged. But one 
never knew when some interfering person or other 
would come to the policeman and demand to know the 
reason he was disturbed "What harm has he done? 
It is a free Park," and so on ; possibly not any harm, 
yet it is our duty to ascertain if those apparently asleep 
are dead or alive. (It was not unusual to find one dead 
I have done so.) And these busybodies, not content 
with the explanation given, will even then write and 
complain of the constable's " unnecessary interference." 
I have had practical experience with such people. 



VAGRANTS. 33 



The enforcement of the rule introduced some year or 
two ago, forbidding reciting, comic sketches in character, 
palmistry, etc., by some tag, rag and bobtail lot who found 
it a paying game in the Park, these disgraceful exhibitions 
soon disappeared for why ? Because it was compara- 
tively easy for the policeman to stop their " business," 
or if they persisted they very soon made acquaintance 
with the Magistrate. Just opposite the Marble Arch 
Gate was a hunting ground for this class of people, and 
I should think a little gold mine for the palmists, judging 
from the number of simpletons I can call them nothing 
else male and female, who appeared so eager to pay 
their sixpence to have their hand felt and a few suave 
words whispered in their ear. 

I have seen two or three at a time doing quite a 
brisk trade, but, of course, the rule prohibiting " un- 
authorised persons from soliciting or collecting money " 
soon enabled the police to put a stop to all that. But 
in the case of vagrants it is not such plain sailing ; for 
my readers must not jump to the conclusion that all the 
people they see asleep on the grass are tramps and 
loafers. Take, for instance, a rough-looking but honest 
working-man, who has left his home at Hammersmith 
at four o'clock in the morning, and walked up to and 
about the West End for hours, like hundreds do, and 
even then fails to get a job. He has to return home 
tired, footsore and down-hearted, and crossing the Park 
the temptation to resist a " downer " is too strong. The 
result is he falls asleep. 

I have come across these poor fellows many a time, 
and usually on being awakened they will be up and off 
without a word ; but not so with the vagrant. He is 
annoyed at being disturbed, and will ask, "What's up?" 

I could keep on writing of one incident and another 
concerning this duty, but what I have said I hope will 
convey to my readers the caution the police have to 
exercise in weeding out the habitual loafers ; as I have 
had no experience under the new rule, it is not for me 
to comment as to the result it may or may not have, 
but I may be permitted to say that I believe, with a 
little patience this, like other past grievances, will cease 



34 HYDE PARK. 



to exist. For, after all, people must not forget dirty 
and unsightly as the vagrant may appear he is mortal 
like the rest of us, and cannot be swept away all at once 
like so much refuse. One never knows under what 
circumstances some of them have drifted into this 
deplorable state. I have no desire to be sentimental 
that must not stand in the way of duty still, it can be 
tempered with a little common humanity. There was 
one man at all events who sympathised with these poor 
wretches Charles Lamb Kenney judging from the 
pathetic words of his song, with the first verse of which 
I headed this chapter, and with the last I will close. 

" Once, tender love watched by my side, 

Now, from above, her angel's my guide, 
When heaven above asks my last breath, 
Angel love smile on the vagabond's death." 




VIII. SUICIDES. 

^^U 1C IDES in Hyde Park, unfortunately, were of 
HE! a very frequent occurrence. Drowning in the 

Serpentine was usually the method adopted. 
The revolver and poison are often resorted to, and 
even hanging in the trees. I knew of one case where 
the body of a man was discovered in broad daylight 
suspended by a piece of cord from the bough of a tree 
situated between the Marble Arch Gate and Police 
Station. One of the most determined suicides was a 
man who stood on the parapet of the West or Magazine 
Bridge, shot himself with a revolver through the head, 
and fell backwards into the water. Another came under 
my own personal observation. I was on duty one morn- 
ing near Stanhope Gate, and was informed that on a 
seat a little distance away a man was bleeding from the 
throat. On my arrival at the spot indicated I could see 
nothing of the man, but was attracted by a trail of blood 
on a path leading to the Serpentine. This I followed in 
that direction, thinking he had made for the water, but 
being unable to obtain any further trace of him, I went 
to the R.H.S. Receiving House for the purpose of in- 
forming the officials, who would at once search the 
vicinity in a boat. Upon my arriving there it appeared 
information had already been given, for the dead body 
of a man had just been taken out of the water, and 
undoubtedly the one I was in pursuit of, for there was 
a frightful gash in the throat. 

In this brief reference to these regrettable affairs, 
I must relate one more, for whenever I have a walk in 
the Park, and should I cross the Magazine Bridge, the 
occurrence I am about to relate usually comes to my mind. 

I was on evening duty (5 p.m. to 1 a.m.), and on my 
way to make my last visit to the constables on duty at 
the Albert Memorial, and was crossing the bridge as 
Big Ben was striking twelve, when I heard a sound not 
unlike the discharge of firearms come from the direction 



36 HYDE PARK. 



of the south bank of the Serpentine. It was not a sharp 
bang, but a thuddy, suppressed kind of report. I stopped 
short and listened . . . but could hear nothing more, 
only the last strokes of the clock booming in the dis- 
tance, and all was still ! Then came the question 
" What was it ? " and the cause. It certainly sounded like 
a revolver or something of the kind possibly some poor 
wretch putting a tragic end to his existence, or perhaps 
only some half-drunken characters passing through the 
Park " having a lark," as they call it, for there are all 
sorts of strange noises in the evening made by people 
on their way home ; but I must confess this struck me 
as something out of the ordinary. However, I tried to 
persuade myself it was of no consequence, for, having been 
on my legs for nearly eight hours, I was not very anxious 
to go out of my way and look for a case of suicide, espe- 
cially on the off chance of one not having been committed. 

At any rate, whatever it may have been, I would 
have the night duty constable informed, so that he 
would give an extra look over that particular part of 
his beat. Having thus decided, I accordingly proceeded 
on my way through Kensington Gardens to the Albert 
Memorial, made my visit, and retraced my steps with 
the intention of going to our station (to get to which I 
should have to re-cross the bridge again), for with 
some reports, etc., that I should have to enter, the 
whole of my time would be busily engaged up to the 
end of my tour of duty. 

But when I arrived at the bridge cross I could not 
an irresistible feeling came over me that I must go 
to the place from whence the noise proceeded, it being 
that side of the water I was then on. I said to myself, 
" Well, this is all right ! " for there was not a soul 
about, no " bulls-eye " with me, and almost pitch dark. 
However, across the grass I went, in the direction I 
believed the sound came from, and had walked about 
two or three hundred yards, and passing through a 
clump of old elm trees, I could just discern in the dark- 
ness an object on the ground. I approached it ; it was 
a man there was no doubt at all now the usual posi- 
tion, flat on the back, arms and legs extended, revolver 



SUICIDES. 37 



clutched in hand. Bending over him, I could perceive 
a fearful wound in his forehead, and his whole frame 
was quivering like an aspen leaf evidently the bullet 
had not yet quite completed its fatal work. 

I could now also quite realize the cause of my 
uncertainty while standing on the bridge, wondering 
what the sound may or may not have been. That it 
was a revolver shot was now only too evident; but I 
believe there is no doubt but what the suicide, with a 
view to ensure his certain death, pressed the muzzle of 
the weapon as close as possible to his head at the time 
he discharged it, and, as an additional consequence, 
would have the effect of producing the stifled report I 
heard that caused my perplexity. 

However, I will not go into further details concern- 
ing this ghastly case, any more than to say, although 
I was hours later in getting to bed that night, I felt 
considerably more at rest that I had " cleared up " the 
affair myself. When I commenced this chapter I in- 
tended to say as little as possible about these sad 
occurrences they are not pleasant subjects to read 
about, and under the most favourable circumstances 
a very unpleasant duty to perform. Still, it had to be 
done, and likely to be, I am afraid ; but I could not 
refrain from entering at length into this one, for in all 
the many cases I have been engaged in, I cannot recall 
one that made a greater impression on me the sudden 
prompting to go and look, and walking direct to the 
body, was a coincidence I cannot easily forget. 

Lastly, it may afford a certain amount of relief for 
me to state, regrettably frequent as these cases of self- 
destruction or self-murder are, yet, during the whole 
of my service, or since that I am aware of, not a single 
case of the terrible crime of deliberate murder, or even 
attempted murder, by a person or persons, upon the life 
of another, has ever had to be recorded by the police; 
and when one comes to consider Hyde Park, open as it 
is from early morn till midnight, day after day, from 
one year's end to the other, to its myriads of humanity 
in all sorts and conditions of life, is at least, I should 
hope, some consolation. 



IX. THE OLD REFORM TREE. 

*HE old Reform, or "Reformer's" Tree, as some 
people term it, at least the spot where it once 
stood, is well known to most people who frequent 
Hyde Park the headquarters of political and other 
demonstrations ; but for the information of those who 
do not happen to know this renowned place, I will 
endeavour to describe it, and also the extirpation of the 
old tree. Suppose we enter the Park at the Grosvenor 
Gate, Park Lane, and take a direct line along the foot- 
path leading to the Albert Memorial and Alexandra 
Gate (indicated by a finger post) ; after proceeding for 
some three hundred yards you arrive at a square-like 
grove of old elm trees it is known as" Russell Square." 
This place bears the reputation of once being a favou- 
rite resort for betting ; the centre is, however, now 
occupied by a water reservoir, being a reserve supply 
for the Royal Palaces; also a Refreshment Chalet and 
other accommodation have recently been introduced in 
the " square." On the left or north-east corner, and 
within a dozen yards of the present electric standard, 
the "original" stood; I believe an elm like its neighbours, 
but not a vestige of green or anything to indicate that 
species simply a stark, blasted-looking old trunk, dead 
as a doornail, whether from lightning or old age, it had 
fallen into such a state, I am unable to say, but that is 
how it appeared in the year 1875, and was recognised 
as " The Old Reform Tree." The occasion of its demo- 
lition, or the cause of it, happened at a meeting or 
demonstration in the summer of the year mentioned 
above. It was not a political meeting, but a trade 
grievance, and I remember very largely attended. So 
far as the meeting was concerned it had gone off 
orderly and quiet, resolutions had been passed, and 
people were really dispersing homewards. I may add it 
was on a week-day, and took place in the evening, I 
presume to give employees every facility to attend ; 
however, it was getting dusk, when suddenly smoke and 



THE OLD REFORM TREE. 39 

sparks were seen issuing from the old tree, and it became 
apparent it had been set on fire, and that we conjec- 
tured, by mischievous boys ; burn and smoke it did 
alarmingly, for it was nothing more than a lump of 
tinder, and this must have occurred to the boys that 
it would burn well if ignited, and cause them fun. We 
could do nothing without water to put the fire out, as it 
was burning from the top part ; evidently one had 
climbed up and lit it. We cleared the crowd back 
some twenty yards from the smouldering tree until the 
arrival of a small manual fire engine, brought by a 
couple of firemen ; but during the wait for this assist- 
ance the boys and others indulged in a fine game, for 
sticks, stones or any other missiles that could be found 
were flung at the old tree, and if struck, as it was dusk, 
up would go a shower of sparks like a rocket, to the 
shouts and amusement of those concerned. I was glad 
when the little engine just mentioned arrived and soon 
put an end to any sign of fire, and the crowd finally 
dispersed. To prevent a repetition of a similar scene, 
the Park authorities soon decided to have it removed 
altogether. Still there is the space where the old tree 
stood, if any of my readers care to take a walk and see 
as I have described. 




X. NIGHT DUTY IN HYDE PARK. 

Sg HAVE no doubt many people will be surprised to 
Hj know that the police patrol round their beats in 

the Park all night long, just as they do in the 
streets ; of course not so many as in the day, only half 
the number. You will possibly say, " Whatever for ? " 
I will endeavour to inform you. The winter months 
are certainly dreary, and little or nothing to do to 
break the monotony of tramping a round ; but I will 
deal with the summer months first. During that period 
of the year, if it were not for police en duty all night 
long, I am afraid our beautiful Park would soon be little 
better than a common lodging-house. The small or foot 
gates are closed at ten p.m., the principal or carriage 
gates at twelve midnight; the constable on duty at each 
of them remains until half-past twelve, to allow vehicles 
or pedestrians that may have entered just before twelve 
o'clock to leave the Park. The gates are fin-ally locked 
at half-past twelve. The constable on night duty going 
round his beat frequently finds loungers either asleep 
or feigning sleep. These he gets rid of at the nearest 
gate, and I can safely say within an hour of the gates 
being closed the Park is quite clear. But would it be 
if it were not for him constantly going round his beat 
and keeping on the alert? Judging from the number 
of these characters that are eagerly waiting soon after 
daybreak about the Marble Arch, Apsley and Albert 
Gates, to get into the Park at the authorised five o'clock 
time, I have every reason to believe it would have been 
waste of time to turn them out, if it had been left to 
them to return if they liked unmolested ; they would 
have found ways and means to get back if they dared. 

I have often felt amused on the opening of the above 
gates to see the rush (Monday mornings especially), to 
say nothing of the respectable working man who is also 
waiting to get across, going to or seeking employment. 
But first and foremost are the " topper hunters," as we 



XIGHT DUTY IN HYDE PARK. 41 

designated them. Immediately the gates were open they 
rush in and extend in all directions like skirmishers. Of 
course they pick up all they can find from underneath and 
about the seats and chairs, but their chief search is 
for the ends of cigars or cigarettes, commonly called 
toppers ; these they gather in their handkerchiefs, and 
having obtained a sufficient quantity are able to dispose 
of them somewhere in the East End of London I believe. 
A strange way of obtaining an existence, but it is so. 
Then there are to be carefully watched the rare shrubs, 
plants and flowers that adorn the Park. Out of the 
hundreds and thousands of people who come every 
Sunday and admire these lovely sights, very few have 
any idea of the anxiety and work the police have to 
keep these free from marauders. Of course, there are 
other London parks equally laid out and not protected 
by police ; possibly so, but you must consider there is 
no other park (at least I believe not) kept open so late 
thereby giving considerably greater facility to any evilly- 
disposed person. All I can say is, they are zealously 
looked after, and anyone caught (which not infrequently 
happens) is, I am glad to say, severely dealt with by the 
magistrates ; a more despicable theft I cannot conceive 
as it is robbing the thousands of people, young and 
old, who come into the Park, and who never have any 
other opportunity of seeing flowers or shrubs in bloom. 

A rather amusing case that I know of in regard to 
these depredations was the audacity of a Soho French 
restaurant keeper, who several mornings came to the 
Park and succeeded in gathering a handful of blooms 
from the beds of the Flower Walk, and which he took 
home to adorn his dining-room tables. Despite the 
alertness of the uniform constables who almost im- 
mediately missed them each successive morning the 
perpetrator could not be discovered. Bed after bed in 
some part or other of the walk was practically shorn of 
its beauty. As I have previously remarked, late in the 
evening or night was an anxious time to us in preventing 
these thefts, for, when committed, it was invariably then ; 
but for them to disappear on a summer's morning in 
broad daylight was rather a mystery. Consequently 



42 HYDE PARK. 



other tactics had to be adopted. So, very shortly, one 
morning Monsieur entered the Park on his bicycle at 
about half-past five o'clock, which, I suppose, had been 
his wont on previous occasions, thereby evading sus- 
picion no doubt a nice quiet time, he thought, He 
leisurely proceeded down the roadway that runs along- 
side the Flower Walk and parallel with Park Lane, and 
at a favourable opportunity jumped off his machine and 
over the short iron fencing, supplies himself with his 
usual bouquet the work of half a minute and is off. 
A ragamuffin-looking man who had been lounging on a 
seat close by and saw what had occurred, rushed into 
the roadway and stopped him. "Vat do you stop me, 
you dirty scamp ? " demanded Monsieur. " You can 
call me what you like," replied the man, " but I am a 
police officer, and shall take you into custody for steal- 
ing those flowers." The consternation of the French- 
man at this extraordinary-looking police officer can be 
more easily imagined than described, but to the station 
he had to go, and there he had the cool cheek to tell 
the Inspector he did not think he was doing any harm, 
for he had done so several times before, and had not 
been interfered with. This was a gratifying admission, 
for it left little doubt as to who the miscreant was, the 
consequence being Monsieur received the full benefit of 
the fine (five pounds) at Marlborough Street Police 
Court. He remarked, " It vas a lot of money to pay 
for such few flowers." Yes, very likely ; but taking 
into consideration the mean offence committed in 
obtaining them, he richly deserved all it cost him, so 
possibly for the future he will find he can invest his 
money to better advantage in flowers at Covent Garden 
Market. 

As I have already stated, the winter months are 
somewhat monotonous ; still the same police regime is 
in force as in the summer, as there are other items to 
be looked after which I could relate, but I think I have 
said enough on night duty. 



XI. FOGS. 

jAYIXG referred to events relative to Spring, Sum- 
mer and Winter, and even Autumn, although 
perhaps not having specially mentioned the fact, 
I will try and make my little work as complete as I am 
able in dealing with Hyde Park all the year round, so 
will just make a few observations as to how we get along 
during dreary, foggy November not that fog strictly 
confines itself to visiting us during that particular month 
alone, but as a matter of fact we are not surprised to 
get a plentiful supply of that objectionable mixture at 
this period of the year. I cannot recall any special 
occurrence consequent on fog, for the simple reason 
that Hyde Park is conspicuous by the absence of its 
usual frequenters, riding, driving, and even walking 
(with few exceptions), as though by common consent 
giving it a wide berth. From individual experience I 
must say I do not blame them, for a more dismal, 
deceptive place during such weather can scarcely be 
imagined, at least it appeared so to me. I, myself, after 
traversing the Park for twenty years and over, would 
naturally be supposed to know every inch of the place, 
and could safely walk about so to speak blindfolded ; 
and I would be inclined to think I could have done so. 
However, be that as it may, all I can say is that in a 
dense evening fog I have to confess, that a stranger who 
had never put foot in the place before would not be at 
much greater loss to find their way than I ; a pitch dark 
night was a treat comparatively, so far as finding one's 
way about was concerned for this simple reason, we 
carried our " bull's-eye " lantern on our belt, and when 
occasion required to turn on the light, by just giving the 
reflector a twist, the surroundings for a dozen or twenty 
yards would be lit up all of aglow; but not so in a dense 



44 HYDE PARK. 



evening fog, the radiant little "bull," illuminating though 
it may be in pitchy darkness, yet through this murky 
stuff you were lucky if it penetrated at most a couple of 
yards. Familiar spots appear so totally different, strange 
and fantastic objects seem to rise in front of one, occa- 
sioned by the clouds of drifting fog; in fact it gave one 
the creeps, especially should it be accompanied with 
frost, the damp clammy coldness seemed to penetrate 
to one's very bones. There is also such an unnatural 
sort of stillness as you grope your way slowly along, in 
order to keep the right footpath and avoid barking your 
shins against the low sharp rails that edge the numerous 
paths, or from coming into sudden contact with an iron 
post or hurdle, and after considerable straining of eyes 
and puzzling of brain in this manner, in order to arrive 
at a particular place, by some chance or other you all 
at once discover that you are going in quite an altogether 
opposite direction. One's feelings in such a predicament 
may be more easily imagined than described. 

In speaking of myself I believe I am only relating 
what is similarly experienced by others. The only advice 
I can offer to anyone who should find themselves in such 
difficulties is that it is utterly useless to attempt to re- 
trace one's steps ; the safest and quickest way in the 
end is to continue as straight and careful as one is able 
to proceed, and eventually some way of egress will be 
found from the Park, even should it have taken you 
considerably out of your ordinary route, but to twist 
and turn about means loss of time, and most probably 
a fall over the low rails into the bargain. Another 
danger which should be borne in mind in crossing the 
Park in a dense fog is the Serpentine, for in many in- 
stances people have walked into the water not that I 
am aware of a case that proved fatal owing to the 
mistake made, but in all probability such a thing may 
have happened. One instance I recollect. A young 
man walked into the water, and in attempting to regain 
terra finna he found he was going considerably deeper ; 
he had the good sense to stand perfectly still, and com- 
menced shouting " Help ! " Old Mr. Smith, for many 
years the Serpentine water-fowl keeper, attracted by 



FOGS. 45 

the cry, went out of his lodge adjacent to the lake, 
obtained the assistance of a policeman, went in search 
and discovered the terrified young fellow just up to his 
knees in water, and whom they promptly helped out. 
Not a bad idea on his part, I consider, to take the pre- 
caution he did ; such presence of mind might help 
someone else placed in similar straits. 




XII. CYCLING IN THE PARK. 

2KX writing my reminiscences of police duty in Hyde 
ff! Park, I feel I should not perhaps be altogether 

completing my undertaking to omit if only a few 
remarks on the subject of the bicycling season, or rather 
the bicycle " craze," as it was more appropriately termed, 
and w r hich undoubtedly it proved to be ; for, like the 
proverbial donkey's gallop, it was short and sweet. One 
brief season and it vanished as quickly as it sprang up! 
As a matter of fact, I was somewhat undecided about 
referring to the event at all. 

However, for the little while it did exist it certainly 
caused no small talk, and looked at one time to even 
vie with the Row in popularity. 

The Ring Road, from the Achilles Statue, Hyde 
Park Corner, to the Magazine, was the selected track, 
a nice level straight run of about a mile and soon 
after ten o'clock in the morning, cyclists chiefly 
ladies made their appearance from all directions, and 
by eleven o'clock that portion of the roadway was 
simply thronged with them ; for carriage traffic or 
equestrians it was almost impossible to get through, 
at all events dangerous to attempt, consequently they 
were advised to proceed by other routes. At every 
crossing constables were posted to assist foot passengers 
over the roadway no easy matter to accomplish, either 
for the policeman himself or for those he was escorting. 
To pass safely through those rapid, silent wheels no 
putting one's hand up and promptly stopping them like 
the ordinary carriage traffic it was a case of getting 
over the best way one possibly could. 

I was fortunate enough to escape without getting 
knocked down myself, but I believe it was more by luck 
than judgment judgment was out of the question, for 
in getting out of the way of one you were in that of 
another it was sheer dodging to and fro. My post was 
at the crossing directly opposite the Achilles Statue, the 
turning point of the track, and the cutting and twisting 



CYCLING IN THE PARK. 47 

and incessant tinkling of bells around you kept one in a 
state of fever heat. I have done duty on every con- 
ceivable crossing on the Row and carriage-way in the 
Park, and positively assert I would a thousand times 
rather do four hours of that duty in the busiest of the 
season than the one hour and a half or two hours amid 
those enthusiastic cyclists; and when twelve o'clock 
came the limit of the time extended to bicycles in the 
Park then and they began to disperse, it was a great 
relief to be able to breathe freely once again, at least, 
that is expressing my feelings on the matter. It is need- 
less for me to state that bicycles are now admitted to 
the Park at any time, like any other authorised vehicle. 
And why the display did not become one of the Park's 
annual attractions is more than I can account for ; it 
certainly justified the then general impression that it 
was " merely a craze." 




XIII. JUBILEE OF QUEEN VICTORIA. 

fMHURSDAY, JUNE 23RD, 1887. The great festival 
|ilj| gathering in Hyde Park of London's School Child- 
ren in celebration of the 50th year of the reign 
of Her Most Gracious Majesty the late Queen Victoria 
was a most notable day, and as far as the weather was 
concerned a most glorious one also. It will not be easily 
forgotten by old or young who were fortunate enough 
to be present at this event. It appeals more to the 
younger generation, considering about 30,000 were re- 
galed and entertained in celebration .of the above 
auspicious occasion. Ten enormous marquees, besides 
many other minor tents, were pitched on the " Guards' 
Ground," or the north-east portion of the Park, for the 
accommodation of this multitude of children, where, at 
a given time, accompanied by their teachers, they all 
assembled and partook of a substantial repast. This 
concluded, a host of attractions and games of the fair 
and fete description were provided out in the open. 
Numerous ladies and gentlemen also rendered every 
possible assistance for their amusement, and, to add 
to their enjoyment, a peal of bells occasionally rang 
out merrily, at least a mechanical arrangement that 
produced the sound of bells, kindly lent and supplied by 
Sir Henry Irving from the Lyceum Theatre, having been 
previously utilised there in one of his plays. The arrival 
of H.M. the Queen on the ground, and the singing by 
the children of "The Old Hundredth" hymn, "God 
Bless the Prince of Wales" and "God Save the Queen" 
accompanied by the Guards' and other regimental 
bands combined, under the conductorship of Lieut. 
Dan Godfrey was a most impressive item in the day's 
programme. To detail the various interesting scenes 
and incidents in connection with that memorable day 
would be to fill a moderate-sized book ; but that is not 



JUBILEE OF QUEEN VICTORIA. 49 



my business even to attempt to do. But it will, I am 
sure, give satisfaction for me to state, so far as the 
police were concerned, nothing came under their notice 
that in any way marred the proceedings not during 
the festivities at all events, and not until the children 
had all, with their "Jubilee Souvenir Cups" in their 
hands, gaily marched from the Park homewards 
nothing whatever had up to that time occurred that 
would in any way tend to cause the slightest discomfort. 
But an incident, had it happened earlier in the day, 
might have caused considerable alarm and scare among 
the little ones. A heap of hay, straw, paper, broken 
crates and boxes refuse of packages had been piled 
up within no very great distance of the tents on the 
Bayswater side of the Park. Whether by accident or 
mischievous persons thinking a bonfire would add to 
the attractions of the evening was never ascertained, 
but certainly, a big blaze was soon in motion. 

A detachment of the " K " division of police, who 
had been on duty in that vicinity all day long, and who 
would have in the ordinary course of events been well 
on their way home towards Bow, made strenuous efforts 
to stop the progress of the fire, but to no avail ; the in- 
flammable stuff, however, soon burnt itself out, and as 
soon as it became approachable the constables set to 
work and raked the burning wood out with sticks or 
anything they could apply for that purpose, scattered 
the embers, and literally stamped and trod the fire out, 
regardless of the damage it did to their boots. I was 
glad when things became tolerably quiet and everything 
apparently safe, that the poor fellows were able to pro- 
ceed on their way home,. for there is no doubt they had 
had a long, arduous day of it. 

1 may here remark, fire in the marquees during the 
evenings and nights prior to the eventful day was our 
great anxiety, and with this single isolated exception 
we congratulated ourselves things had gone off most 
satisfactorily. 

In closing this little narrative, I cannot resist refer- 
ring to the energetic action of Sir Edward Lawson (Lord 
Burnham), Chairman and chief promoter of that happy 



50 



HYDE PARK. 



event. He worked most indefatigably, and also took par- 
ticular notice that other people worked too for he was 
up and about the Park early and late during the whole 
of the preparations, the result being, to use the words 
of a gentleman who expressed his appreciation of that 
occasion, " Never was a festival more manifestly joyous, 
natural, satisfactory and genuine." 




XIV.APPREHENSION OF "SWELL" 
THIEVES. 

SMOM PLAINTS having come in of the loss of purses, 
jjjll watches, jeweller}', etc., in the vicinity of Hyde 
Park Corner and Rotten Row this sort of thing 
happened annually ; but it is chiefly owing to the care- 
lessness of the owner, who often leaves such articles on 
a chair or seat (purses most frequently), or dropping 
them, from not having been securely fastened to their 
person. But on this particular occasion, as there ap- 
peared an unusual number, we naturally came to the 
conclusion they were not all accidentally lost. 

Accordingly two experienced detectives were applied 
for to investigate and keep observation on this locality, 
Sergeant Mott and another detective were deputed for 
this duty. I may add, with reference to Sergeant Mott, 
who was then stationed at King Street Station, White- 
hall our head divisional quarters, my knowledge of him 
was, as being a most clever, astute detective officer; he 
had an eye like a hawk. But to continue. It was in 
the month of June the height of the season and about 
six o'clock in the evening. The Park was in full swing, 
the sides of the Row were thronged, and the carriage 
traffic was simply packed and only moving at a walking 
pace. I had just come up the side of the Row from the 
direction of Albert Gate, and was standing alongside one 
of the trees that run through the centre of the path, 
directly opposite the clock at Hyde Park Corner. I re- 
mained some few minutes satisfying myself things were 
apparently going on all right, and was just about to make 
my way over the crossing to see how the constables were 
getting on who were busily engaged with the traffic and 
j'.ssisting people across, when someone touched me on 
the elbow, and said quietly, "Don't go away, Sergeant; 
we are just going to ' tap ' someone." 1 half turned 
round, and recognised Mott, and a yard or two away 



52 HYDE PARK. 



stood the other detective. He returned to his col- 
league, with whom he appeared to have a few hurried 
subdued words. 

During this littie time I looked about me, though 
did not stir an inch ; in fact, I was almost afraid to look, 
let alone stir, in case the slightest movement on my part 
might frustrate the officer's designs, so anxious was I 
that they should successfully accomplish their object. 
Yet, as I have stated, I did glance about me, but no 
individual could I see that aroused my slightest suspicion. 
I did not expect to see a thief of the Bill Sikes type, but 
I certainly expected to see someone who I at least thought 
they had fixed upon, but no one was near me only those 
whom I imagined belonged to " Society." In consider- 
ably less time than it takes to write these words, Mott 
returned, followed by the other officer, and, stooping 
down, spoke in an undertone to three gentlemen who 
were sitting on chairs directly in front of me. I did not 
hear what he said, but it was brief, and for the moment 
I wondered if he was asking them a question about 
something they may have seen or heard, or even lost ; 
but to my astonishment he grasped two of the men 
each by the arm, the other officer seized the third 
this was the signal for me, and 1 very soon relieved 
Mott of one. Their blanched faces, incoherent protesta- 
tions and "feigned" indignation convinced me at once 
who they were. However, there was no scene, no scuffle 
or confusion ; Mott, in his quiet but firm manner, had 
" fixed his right men," and told them they would have 
every opportunity of stating or giving an account of 
themselves at the police station ; and through ranks 
of London Society we marched them. I should imagine 
it must have caused no little comment at the dinner-table 
that evening by those who witnessed this incident, for 
their " make-up " was simply complete silk high hats, 
frock coats, dust coats on arm, :;: umbrella, etc., and I 

' The idea of this class of thief carrying a dust-coat is. that 
apart from it aiding them in their " make-up," it is rather con- 
venient in covering the arm and hand when relieving ladies, and 
even gentlemen, of the contents of their pockets, which they 
accomplish with amazing dexterity. 



APPREHENSION OF "SWELL" THIEVES. 53 

must say their under attire equally corresponded with 
their outer ; for, after being charged, the process of 
stripping for searching and obtaining marks of identifi- 
cation, gave me the opportunity of observing this, 
evidently they had taken every precaution if that one 
thing could have assisted them in evading their pro- 
fession, viz., thieves, which they undoubtedly were 
proved to be. 

It may occur to some of my readers strange that 
these men should be arrested while sitting down quietly; 
why could they not have been watched until caught red- 
handed ? I can only come to one conclusion on this 
matter; you must bear in mind the detectives had had 
these men under observation for hours for days for all 
I know, almost stealthily dogging their actions while mov- 
ing about among that fashionable crowd. I must here 
also point out, this class of thieves are equally as wary 
as they are clever at their profession, consequently the 
stratagem and tactics the detectives have to adopt to 
bring their quarry to bay is not my business to relate ; 
I must leave the reader to die detectives alone who tell 
their experience in such cases. A detective officer and 
a uniform officer are distinct lines of police work alto- 
gether. One little knows the difficulty they have in 
tracking these cunning, light-fingered characters to 
justice, and I have but little doubt in this particular 
case they were a bit too " fly " to be caught, as I have 
said before, " red-handed," for by some chance one out 
of the three had caught the penetrating glance of 
Sergeant Mott's eye. That was enough ; they " rum- 
bled " to adopt their slangy phraseology upon scenting 
danger, the game was up. Then came the question 
What was the best thing to do ? To " bolt " or even 
stalk away would be to seal their fate ; but to sit down 
quietly and brazen it out may possibly give them a 
chance, the " tecks " may have a doubt about them, or 
may wait another day in order to have them " on the 
job." Such thoughts as these undoubtedly were flash- 
ing through their minds. 1 need hardly add, if once 
these individuals could have got clear unmolested, Hyde 
Park would not have seen them again for many a day. 



54 HYDE PARK. 



Mott knew this ; that was the hurried conversation 
I witnessed between the two officers prior to the arrest. 
It was now or never, and rather than let them slip 
altogether he would have them on the minor charge 
Suspected persons, etc., etc. 

It was a big haul three at one swoop, and I always 
considered great credit was due to Sergeant Mott for the 
tact and confidence he displayed in ridding the Park of 
a gang of such expert fashionable criminals. 

I was once rather amused with the eulogy paid to 
this class of people by a gentleman. He was relating 
to me the loss of his valuable gold watch, which had 
been stolen he had not the slighest doubt about it, he 
said. " But the mysterious way they got it from me is 
astounding. And it is not on account of its intrinsic 
value that I troubled, or they should have it for their 
cleverness ; but being a present from my father on my 
twenty-first birthday, I would give double the value for 
its recovery. But there," said he, continuing, " I shall 
never see the watch again ; and I believe, if they made 
up their minds to do it, they would take the very teeth 
out of your head." Of course, that was putting it rather 
strong. Still, as to their cleverness there is no doubt, 
and it behoves one to be most cautious with valuables, 
in crowds particularly. 

In concluding this subject, it is perhaps just as well 
not to lose sight of the fact that there are roaming about 
some most clever professional "female thieves," not that 
I am aware of any particular case in the Park of a woman 
being charged with having committed, or even suspected, 
of theft not in the daytime among the fashionable, at 
all events. I am inclined to think these ladylike-looking 
"prigs" confine their manipulative " business " chiefly 
to the pockets of their own sex, while travelling in 
omnibuses, tramcars, etc., and not infrequently while 
standing about looking in shop windows. 



XV. A REMARKABLE FIND. 

tracing and restoring of lost and found property 
in the Park is an important item of police duty. 
It has been my lot to make many hundreds of 
enquiries respecting lost and found articles. It may be 
surprising to know what a number of things (valuable 
ones) are annually found by the police or are handed 
over to them and never claimed. Many people lose 
their property, and upon discovering their loss will say, 
" Oh, it is of no use bothering about it, I shall never get 
it again." It is a mistake to always jump at these con- 
clusions. Of course, on the other hand, a great many 
people report their loss and never hear a word more of 
it. The police cannot be always looking about for things 
dropped or left on seats or chairs, they have other busi- 
ness to attend to; and the reader must remember there 
are persons who simply do nothing else but prowl about 
the Park all day long for what they can find. Still the 
police do find things, or, as I have said before, have things 
handed over to them. Only quite recently in the summer 
I was passing through the Park, and had occasion to stop 
and ask a question of a constable. At the same moment 
a gentleman came up and handed over to him a lady's 
beautiful gold watch he had just picked up, monogram, 
etc., on back, the value of which could not be less than 
8 or 10. But to proceed with my own experiences. 
On one occasion I found a purse with silver and gold in, 
and a receipt for an advertisement in a daily paper; this 
was something for me to work upon. I made enquiries 
at the office of that particular newspaper, the Morning Post, 
and was courteously furnished with the name and address 
of the advertiser, a poor domestic servant girl out of a 
situation, to whom I restored her loss. She, of course, 
had given it up without making the slightest enquiry. 

But my chief reason for referring to such events is 
to relate a " find " which happened during my time, but 
from the almost incredibleness I am doubtful if such a 



56 HYDE PARK. 



thing hardly happens in a generation. The finding of a 
pocket-book, purse or bag containing large amounts in 
bank-notes, or even gold, are, as we all know, not an 
infrequent occurrence in some part or other of London ; 
but to walk along a public footpath and see fifty-three 
sovereigns strewn underneath and about a seat would 
almost tend to take one's breath away. Yes, fifty-three 
bright golden sovereigns scattered about as if they were 
of no more value than so many acorns. This was ac- 
tually discovered by a police constable on night duty in 
Kensington Gardens, at the top of the Flower Walk, 
immediately opposite the Albert Memorial. What he 
must have thought when he flashed his light upon them 
goodness only knows, but one thing certain, it must 
have been, " Oh, what a surprise ! " and one can quite 
understand if the officer did not have some misgivings 
as to the genuineness of the coins. However, he gathered 
them up and took them to our station, where they were 
all proved to be current coin of the realm. Even now 
in this case it remained a mystery (for a long time I am 
sure) how they came there, and I am not certain if ever 
they were claimed at all, but that portion of information 
I am not in possession of, but the finding of the amount 
in the way I have described is without a doubt, and can 
be authenticated by the record in the Occurrence Book 
at Hyde Park Police Station. 




XVI. THE SERPENTINE. 

Serpentine world-wide known as it is (by 
name) its particulars, viz., its source of supply, 
length, width, depth, etc., very few perhaps are 
acquainted with. In commencing this book I stated it 
was not my intention to attempt to describe " attrac- 
tions," by which I mean permanent fixtures, in the Park; 
but having had to perform duty on its banks and surface 
(and even in the water itself) :: in many various ways, I 
hope I may be excused in deviating a little from my 
ordinary incidents by giving a brief description of this 
beautiful central London lake. Of course, there is 
another Serpentine besides the one in Hyde Park, 
namely, Regent's Park. At least, it was called so years 
ago. I remember when a boy reading of an awful ice 
fatality on " The Serpentine, Regent's Park," when 
many persons (nearly fifty, so I am informed) lost their 
lives. A vein of humour was introduced into this sad 
occurrence by the unconcerned demeanour of a man 
who sat quietly smoking his pipe on a mass of floating 
ice in the middle of the water until he was rescued. 

However, there is no fear ot such a calamity hap- 
pening again, as the lake has been considerably shallowed 
and reconstructed since, and I believe is now generally 
known as the "Ornamental Waters," Regent's Park. 
So, I suppose, as a matter of fact, there is only one 
recognised Serpentine, and that is in Hyde Park. 

The full extent of this sheet of water from end to 
end is fifteen hundred yards ; from east bridge to west 
bridge is just a thousand yards, the remainder, which 
proceeds into Kensington Gardens, makes up the dis- 
tance stated. It varies in its width gradually, the 
greatest being a hundred and eighty yards, the lesser 

* The writer having on three different occasions rescued 
women from drowning. 



58 HYDE PARK. 



about fifty ; it is shaped in a zig-zag form, thereby 
deriving its name Serpentine. The depth I have al- 
ready referred to in a former chapter. Yet it may not 
be out of place here to again remind the reader on that 
particular matter. It is of vital importance that persons 
using this lake for such recreation as boating, bathing 
and skating should be impressed as to the depth of water 
he or she may be venturing upon in the case of the 
latter especially, for it must be borne in mind that this 
lake undoubtedly (for various reasons) has an excep- 
tional attraction, and, once open to the public for that 
exhilarating diversion, they do not come in companies 
but in battalions, consequently the depth, \vhich varies 
from five to fourteen feet of water to say nothing of 
the probability of a foot or two of mud cannot be too 
seriously taken into consideration. The winter ninety 
four-five was a " nipper," in fact we have not had such 
a severe one since" at any rate not a continuation of 
frost to admit of the full extent of the lake being thrown 
open. On that occasion, I have stood on the bank in 
the evenings and watched the ice bending and heaving 
under the enormous strain placed upon it, until a very 
unpleasant sort of a feeling has crept over me. One 
Sunday evening in particular I shall never forget, the 
suspense was almost painful, so fully aware was I of 
the appalling loss of life that must inevitably happen, 
should the ice give way. , 

If fifty persons can be drowned in a lake of no 
greater depth or expanse than this one, and in broad 
daylight, what are we to anticipate must follow should 
a similar disaster occur here on a dark night, with pro- 
bably ten times the number of persons than upon the 
fatal occasion I have previously referred to ? . . .1 
think it is a matter for grave consideration. 

Of course there are notice boards to warn people of 
the depth, but people do not always stop to read notice 
boards even in the daytime, let alone in the dark even- 
ings, when it would be impossible. Therefore I take 
this opportunity to point out the danger risked in being 

* i.e. up to the winter of 1908-9. 



THE SERPEXT1NE. 59 



too venturesome. Most lamentable incidents I could 
relate, not only upon the ice, but in boating and bath- 
ing, in consequence. 

As to the source of the Serpentine, I could not state 
if it has springs in its bed or not, but artificially it is 
supplied at each end by the water being pumped from 
wells, one in Kensington Gardens, the other in St. 
James's Park. There are plenty of fish in this lake, of 
the coarse species roach, dace, chub, eels, etc. On a 
warm evening I have seen the sides of the water literally 
boiling with them ; the boys know this, and they often 
steal a few minutes fishing, which of course is against 
the rules of the Park, this they often rue by having to 
attend a summons before the magistrate. 

In speaking of fishing, I had an adventure once on 
the Round Pond, Kensington Gardens, a few years 
ago, before it was cleaned out and shallowed. There 
were plenty of fish there, of the class I have already 
mentioned. 

This " basin-shaped " pleasant sheet of water, some 
seven hundred yards in circumference, and directly oppo- 
site Kensington Palace, is well known to nursemaids 
and children without a doubt, for it is constantly sur- 
rounded, either in feeding the swans and ducks, or the 
more senior members of the family are engaged in the 
favourite amusement of sailing their model yachts or 
boats across the pond. Of an evening just before the 
gates close sometimes a number of these small craft get 
becalmed and considerably out of reach of the owners, 
the consequence being they had to proceed home minus 
their treasure, which I hardly need add sorely tried 
their young feelings, and we could only console the 
little fellows by saying it would probably be restored to 
them the next day by applying at Hyde Park police 
station, for usually during the night a breeze would 
spring up, and the whole fleet be found stranded in 
the morning. It was not an unusual thing during the 
summer months to see the policeman going off night 
duty with as many of these " abandoned " vessels as he 
could comfortably carry. The same system is, I believe, 
adopted by the present Park constables in taking charge 



60 HYDE PARK. 



of these articles other than bringing them to us they 
deposit them at their own office adjoining the police 
station, Hyde Park. 

But to proceed with my fishing story. I was on 
night duty. It was in the month of August (if I recol- 
lect rightly), at any rate it was a Sunday night preceding 
a Bank holiday possibly it may have been the Whitsun 
holiday ; however, that matters but little. By some 
means it had got into a local weekly newspaper either 
Kensington or Bayswater neighbourhood, that fishing 
would be permitted in the Round Pond on this parti- 
cular Bank holiday. I had met someone during the 
early part of the night who intimated this announce- 
ment to me, however, not having been apprised by my 
superiors of any such notification, I treated it for what it 
was worth, doubting if it had happened at all. Eventually 
the time came round to open the gates. I commenced 
about four o'clock (I was the only constable on duty in 
the gardens that night), so as to have the last opened 
by five a.m., the authorised time. To walk quite three 
miles round the Gardens and open between twenty and 
thirty gates one could scarcely be expected to start much 
later. This done, out of curiosity I strolled towards the 
pond. Up to that time I had not seen a sign of a fisher- 
man, so I did not feel in the least alarmed ; but on my 
emerging through the trees on the Kensington side of 
the Gardens, imagine my consternation on beholding 
round the pond no less than thirty or forty persons, all 
busily engaged in preparing their rods and tackle, and 
some even had commenced angling and having sport, 
for I saw them pulling the fish out. Ladies even were 
there with camp-stools, luncheon baskets, etc., evidently 
they were bent upon having a good day of it. I set to 
work and demanded to know from the first party I came 
to, upon what authority were they taking such a liberty 
with the regulations. They referred me to the paper I 
have mentioned. I replied that, not having received 
any official instructions on the matter, my duty was to 
stop them. They protested it was " all right." I per- 
sisted it was not " all right," and took out my pocket- 
book, and, I am sure, wrote down a dozen names and 



THE SERPEXTINE. 61 

addresses, and the more I wrote the more there appeared 
to be arriving on the scene. I thought to myself, I am 
just about as much use here as not at all, so sent in- 
formation to the police station of what was going on, 
and very soon half-a-dozen men in blue arrived, whose 
presence quickly had the effect of conveying to these 
ardent anglers they were under some " misapprehen- 
sion," and they quietly, but most disappointedly, packed 
up. One enthusiastic piscator, I remember, judging 
from his appearance, came from the slums of Netting 
Hill on the strength of the information obtained from 
the "local organ," openly defied the police. He had his 
fishing-rod, which consisted of a long trimmed garden 
pea-stick, wrested from him by a constable, and had the 
mortification of seeing it broken up and thrown into the 
pond. Firm measures had to be taken, or the place 
would have been overrun by such characters. However, 
it gradually passed off quietly without any magisterial 
proceedings, as the transgressors, I need hardly state, 
were the victims of a hoax ! 

It may be of interest to say that the boundary line 
which divides the two parishes of St. George, Hanover 
Square, and St. Margaret's, Westminster, runs through 
the centre of the Serpentine, Hyde Park the north 
portion belonging to the former, the south to the latter. 
I have seen the schoolboys of the Westminster parish, 
accompanied by the officials, performing the old- 
fashioned custom of "beating the boundary" with long 
sticks. They commence at the east bridge, where, 
about the middle, just above the water-level, the mark 
is to be seen. For some few seconds they would shout 
and thrash this particular spot unmercifully. They then 
proceed in boats in a direct line to the west bridge to 
the other boundary mark, where I suppose a similar 
ceremony is gone through. 

NOTE. The subject of loss of life by drowning has heen seriously attended 
ti) in the above chapter : therefore I would like to take the opportunity to say 
that it has just come under my notice that "a more simple and efficient method 
of artificial respiration to the apparently drowned" has heen discovered by 
Professor Schiifer, and strongly advocated by " The Royal Life Saving Society," 
also by the Police. The Royal Humane Society, however, strictly adheres to the 
" Silvester " method, and as to which of the two it the most effectual opinion 
appears to be divided. Yet it is well worth knowing there are two such invaluable 
life restoratives, and each by such scientific men as Dr. Silvester and Dr. Schafer. 



XVII. "ROYALTY IN THE PARK." 

J HAVE in other chapters alluded to Her Most 
2k Gracious Majesty the late Queen Victoria driving 

through Hyde Park on her return journey from 
Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle, and the im- 
mense interest displayed by the record attendance of 
people in the Park, consequent upon that rare occasion. 
Of course, apart from this, Her Majesty was very fre- 
quently in the Park during her short stay in London 
in fact, I should imagine the Queen \vas most fond of 
Hyde Park, for I have known her drive out both morn- 
ing and afternoon ; even should she have held a Drawing 
Room the same day, she was out as soon after as possible. 
It was not an uncommon occurrence for Her Majesty, 
upon terminating her morning drive in the Park, to enter 
Rotten Row, usually at the end near Kensington Gardens, 
and drive down the centre among the riders to Hyde 
Park Corner the carriage and double pair of splendid 
bays, ridden by scarlet and gold liveried postilions, Her 
Majesty's Scotch attendants in Highland costume being 
seated behind a carriage in the Row was a novelty to 
witness, the Queen being the only personage that I am 
aware of that could command the right of driving along 
that fashionable ride. 

I would now also be pleased to write a little of what I 
know in regard to our present gracious and beloved Queen 
Alexandra's attachment to the Park. Of course, I have to 
confine my experiences to the period when Her Majesty 
was Princess of Wales, and I must ask pardon if I occa- 
sionally refer to Her Majesty by the title she then bore. 

Many hours of duty at Hyde Park Corner, just 
inside the Apsley Gates, have I done, both among the 
carriage traffic and at the side of the Royal entrance 
the centre gate to prevent too enthusiastic admirers 
of Her Royal Highness pressing near her carriage as 
she entered or left the Park, this particular spot being 
a " vantage ground " for those on foot obtaining a view 
of " The Princess," as she was familiarly referred to. 

I can safely say that, should Her Royal Highness 
be in town, and if no engagement or important function 



ROYALTY IN THE PARK. 63 

prevented her, scarcely a day during the season but 
some time between four and six o'clock the Princess, 
accompanied by one or more of her daughters, in 
their stately carriage and pair, would enter the Park 
by the'entrance I have already mentioned, and, should 
the Park be very full, preceded by a mounted police 
constable, was driven up and down the centre of the 
long ranks of carriages, gracefully bowing her acknow- 
ledgments to the numerous salutations of respect and 
homage which nil were so anxious to pay her. And 
however often Her Royal Highness attended, there 
never was the slightest abatement in the enthusiasm 
shown, from the highest to the humblest. Once inside 
the Park, not a carriage or person would appear to me 
to leave until she had finally taken her departure. And 
questions such as " Policeman, will the Princess come 
this way again?" " How long will she remain?" "Which 
gate will the Princess leave the Park by ? " etc., etc., 
one was assailed with on all sides. 

One old lady, in particular, I shall never forget: 
very grey, quaintly dressed, but neat and genteel, tall and 
thin, upright as a reed, and as active as a young antelope, 
judging from the manner in which she could pop about. 
Most regularly she would come, and most persistently 
push herself to the front, and all our remonstrating 
with her as to the danger she was incurring, of being 
knocked down by the horses or carriage, was of no 
avail she would not be denied from making her 
dignified bow to the Princess as she entered or left 
the Park, so much so that H.R.H.'s attention was 
particularly attracted towards this constant and enthu- 
siastic old soul, and she became quite interested, and 
caused enquiries to be made concerning her. 

I would here point out that Royalty are so ever- 
lastingly being pestered by fanatical and all sorts of 
crack-brained people, in one way and another, that it 
becomes them to be most careful to whom they give en- 
couragement or pay any special attention to. Although, 
in this particular case troublesome to us though she 
was we had no doubt whatever but that it was 
genuine enthusiasm on the part of the old dame. 



64 HYDE PARK. 



Yet enquiries were instituted regarding her, result- 
ing that H.R.H. was assured of the old lady's thorough 
respectability, and that it was purely love and devoted- 
ness towards Her Royal Highness that so animated 
the old creature's feelings and actions. So, to crown 
her happiness, very shortly afterwards a favourable 
opportunity offered itself; for, while driving in the 
Park one morning, Her Royal Highness caught sight of 
the old lady taking her walk on the footpath alongside the 
Ring Road, a nice quiet part of the Park. Taking advan- 
tage of this, H.R.H. stopped ; and fortunately, in attend- 
ance upon Her Royal Highness, was Col. the Hon. Oliver 
Montagu, who, I regret to say, has since passed awaj', but 
I would like to add, was for so long, and up to the time 
of his death, her trusted and faithful Equerry, a favourite 
in the private family circle of the Prince and Princess, 
and I believe and am pleased to say my knowledge of 
him quite justifies that belief the most esteemed and 
greatest personal friend of Her Royal Highness that 
ever lived. He, at her request, alighted from the 
carriage, and made the announcement to the old 
lady that Her Royal Highness would be pleased to 
speak to her ; but, in fact, to use the Colonel's exact 
words, he smilingly said, " Would you like to speak 
to the Princess ? " Of course she would like to speak 
to the Princess he knew that very well ; still, it 
was in his usual affable manner he so addressed her 
it was her greatest desire on earth, and that she should 
ever realize that desire well, she had not even dreamt. 
So her joy knew no bounds, and she was quickly 
at the side of the carnage, from which H.R.H. graciously 
spoke a few kind words, asking after her health, and 
remarking how very frequently she saw her in the 
Park ; then, expressing hopes that she might long enjoy 
the best of health, and continue to take her walk in the 
Park, Her Royal Highness wished her "good morning." 

With this unexpected honour the old lady was 
highly delighted, and for many a long day afterwards 
related the incident to anyone who might happen to 
be standing near her while waiting at Hyde Park 
Corner to see the " Princess." 



ROYALTY IN THE PARK. 65 

It was not unusual in the morning for Her Royal 
Highness to go for a quiet drive in her phaeton and 
pair ; accompanied only by her servant, she would 
almost unobserved go all round the Park. It was on 
one of these "quiet" drives that Her Royal Highness 
was once instrumental in averting what may have 
turned out to be a serious carriage accident in the 
Park. Although not in the morning, it was early in 
the afternoon, and some considerable time before the 
Park would become full. Her Royal Highness was- 
being driven in her victoria and favourite pair of beau- 
tiful greys, accompanied by one of her daughters 
1 believe the present Princess Royal and was pro- 
ceeding along the carriage drive from the direction of 
Hyde Park Corner towards Kensington Gardens, at the 
entrance gate of which stands a policeman on duty. 
Upon the carriage arriving at this gate, Her Royal 
Highness directed her coachman to pull up, and with a 
slight wave of her hand beckoned the officer, who with 
a salute quickly approached the side of the carriage. 
Leaning forward, Her Royal Highness very impressively, 
but in her accustomed gentle manner, said : "Constable, 
I have just passed a carriage coming this way in which 
there are two ladies, and one of the wheels appear to 
me to be in a most dangerous condition, and I am afraid 
an accident may happen to them ; will you please call 
their attention to the matter." The constable thanked 
Her Royal Highness, and promised to fulfil her wish, 
and for that purpose took up his stand in the middle of 
the roadway to await the approaching vehicle, which was 
now in sight, and which the Princess was most careful 
to point out before proceeding on her drive. 

Now comes the most amazing portion of this in- 
cident. The constable, as I have already stated, placed 
himself in the roadway, and when the carriage, which 
contained two elderly ladies, came within a few yards, 
he put up his hand to the coachman, who brought it 
to a standstill. The constable thereupon lost no time 
in imparting the news to its occupants of the jeopardy 
they were being exposed to, and also that they owed 
this important information to no other personage than 



66 HYDE PARK. 



H.R.H. the Princess of Wales. What with the alarm 
at their imminent danger, and the surprise at their 
illustrious informant, they were not a little discon- 
certed ; but they very quickly managed to make their 
exit out of the old conveyance. After a survey of the 
defective wheel, the coachman was instructed to pro- 
ceed home with all possible care and caution with the 
empty vehicle, and, giving the horses a slight touch 
with the whip, he started off with the intention of 
obeying these orders ; but they had not gone more 
than half a dozen yards when there was heard a crash ! 
and the off hind-wheel of the old ramshackle landau 
went to pieces ; spokes, splinters, and the various 
portions of wood that composed the wheel fled in all 
directions, the tyre wobbled to the side of the roadway, 
and, as may be supposed, the whole concern generally 
collapsed, to the consternation of the late occupants. 
But what must have happened had the horses and 
carriage, with its owners, been proceeding at ordinary 
speed ? personal injury, serious or slight, would have 
most assuredly attended the accident ; even should the 
horses be only going at a common jog-trot pace, they 
would, as in most cases of the sort, have taken fright, 
become unmanageable, and dragged the vehicle some 
considerable distance. In such an event the consequence 
could only have ended in one thing disaster. On the 
other hand, the coachman may have succeeded in pull- 
ing up the horses, and the ladies escape with simply a 
shaking and a few slight bruises. All this, of course, is 
a matter for conjecture ; but the smash-up was inevitable 
sooner or later, had it not been for the quick perception 
and prompt action of Her Royal Highness, to whom the 
ladies expressed at the very earliest opportunity their 
most grateful thanks. 



XOTE. At the commencement of this chapter I referred to the " Centre " erf 
the Apsley Gates as the Royal entrance. Strictly speaking this is so, as all other 
than Royal carriages or Royal conveyances must enter by one or other of the two 
side sates. Yet the Regulations are that the Centre Gate is a general exit for all 
vehicles admitted Royal or otherwise. 

The only Carriage Gate in Hyde Park that is reserved for the exclusive use of 
Royalty is the Centre Gate of the .Marble Arch ; in tact, it is opened only on the 
day v. hen the " Sovereign " is in, or may be expected to arrive in London. 



XVIII. DOG MUZZLING. 

When Constabulary duty's to be done to be done, 
A Policeman's lot is not a happy one happy one ! '' 

sings the policeman in Sullivan's " Pirates of 
Penzance," and I really think I never had a 
greater realization of those words than when the 
" rabies," or dog muzzling order, was so rigorously en- 
forced, I believe some time in the 'eighties. In many 
instances I am afraid it brought the police into rather 
unfavourable popularity, for the order was most rigidly 
carried out rich and poor, big dogs and little dogs, had 
all alike to knuckle under. As to its beneficial results 
to the general public there can be no doubt ; for people 
must bear in mind that, apart from the " muzzling 
order " insuring the public safety against a dog (how- 
ever well cared for) that may become rabid at any 
moment, especially so during what are known as " the 
dog days," it further had the effect of clearing the 
parks and streets of hundreds of half-starved mangy 
mongrels that had hitherto been roaming about at 
large, to the common danger of possibly communicating 
that terrible malady hydrophobia of course, that is not 
to say but what the police are " constantly " taking the 
precaution to seize homeless and stray dogs still I 
would like to impress the fact, that the order, when in 
force, facilitated the clearance of a considerable greater 
number of these undesirable curs. Consequently the 
temporary trifling inconvenience caused by having to 
comply with this "order" surely is more than ade- 
quately compensated for. At the same time it did 
appear to me to be almost an absurdity to be constantly 
having to request a lady or gentleman to keep a dog 
muzzled, although no bigger than a cat, say for instance 
a toy Skye or fox terrier ; but however ridiculous it 
may have appeared as they frequently retorted, " duty 
had to be done." 



68 HYDE PARK. 



I had occasion once to make such a request to the 
late Sir Henry Irving while walking in the Green Park 
with his little dog. I have always remembered the in- 
cident on account of the jocular observation the great 
actor made to me. Having politely called his attention 
to the order, Sir Henry stopped, and said very good- 
humouredly, " Who made this order ? " I replied, " The 
Chief Commissioner." " Indeed," said he ; "I don't 
think the Chief Commissioner knows what he is talking 
about." That opinion I did not attempt to discuss, for 
Sir Henry readily applied the necessary article on the 
little dog's head, and continued his walk round the 
Park. I need hardly state, it was not everyone so 
requested who would be quite so agreeable. 

So many owners of dogs appear to imagine that 
once inside the Park they were at liberty to remove its 
headgear, and allow it to have a free run. I suppose 
it was only natural, after all, they should have this 
consideration for their canine friends or pets; unfor- 
tunately for them, however, the law did not extend 
such consideration, for there is no more reason to 
believe why a dog should not become mad in the parks 
as in the streets. Hence invariably the unpleasant 
altercation between policeman and owner. 

One case I remember well. I was rather pathetic- 
ally impressed at the grief of a little five-year-old boy, 
who, in company with his governess in Hyde Park one 
morning, had their dog taken away from them by a 
policeman. Singular to relate, it was a little son of the 
late First Commissioner of Royal Parks and Gardens 
Lord Windsor (Earl of Plymouth). But in this case they 
had omitted to bring even the muzzle with them, forgotten 
it or were perhaps unconscious of the order; at any rate, 
the dog was promptly seized by a constable, who, as I ap- 
peared on the scene, was leading it off towards the police 
station. What most attracted my attention was the 
agitated state of the governess and distress of the little 
fellow at the apparent loss of their companion. I 
approached them, and would gladly have endeavoured 
to console their feelings by explaining that the seizure 
would only be temporary, and presently things would 



DOG MUZZLING. 69 



be all right. But the governess would not give me the 
opportunity, for, taking hold of the little boy's hand 
I can now recall seeing him in his "kilt suit" sobbing 
bitterly she rushed out of the Park at Grosvenor 
Gate, in the direction of home, as though her very life 
depended upon it, presumably to impart the news to 
her master or mistress. I sharply followed after the 
constable, and upon overtaking him I said, " Who does 
the dog belong to ? " at the same time stooping down, 
I examined the plate on its collar, where engraved was 
the name Lady Windsor, etc., etc. There was, how- 
ever, no alternative but for doggie a little, short-legged, 
timid-looking creature, if I remember rightly, what we 
would describe as a " Daschund " to go through the 
usual process. The constable was only carrying out 
his duty, but I took steps that no time was lost in a 
message being sent to the residence of her ladyship to 
inform her that upon the production of a muzzle and 
payment of the authorised fee at the police station, 
Hyde Park, the dog would be given up to her or those 
\vho represented her. It is scarcely necessary to state 
this was immediately complied with, and all ended 
amicably. 

Of course there were pleasant as well as unpleasant 
encounters with the police and public in connection with 
dogs. Considering the length of time I was in Hyde 
Park, my reader cannot wonder but that I had many 
opportunities, in one way and another, of rendering 
service on behalf of that most sagacious animal, espe- 
cially in the case of ladies, for many were the anxious 
faces I have seen come to make enquiries respecting the 
lost, strayed, or even stolen dogs; and many are the 
grateful thanks bestowed for enquiries made or informa- 
tion given, resulting in the restoration of their lost 
favourites. I could rake up many incidents that perhaps 
would be interesting in such cases. I will, however, 
conclude with a short story of the extraordinary friend- 
liness shewn by a dog towards the police, for as a rule 
dogs do not like policemen, they always appeared to me 
to fight shy of us; I narrate this particular story be- 
cause this dog was certainly an exception to the rule. 



70 HYDE PARK. 



" Prince " a beautiful Dalmatian (or as some people 
describe them, " carriage dogs ") was brought in by a 
constable, apparently having lost itself among the busy 
traffic. His name, with name and address of owner 
a lady residing in the neighbourhood of Lancaster Gate, 
Hyde Park, were engraved on collar. He was taken 
down into the stable-yard and chained up, and informa- 
tion sent to the owner in the ordinary way. I think it 
is pretty generally known that the police do not, under 
any circumstances, restore lost dogs at the residences 
of their owners ; they or their servants must attend at 
the police station. " Prince " was eventually sent for, 
and handed over. About a day or two afterwards he 
was brought in again by another constable, with the 
same formality. I am afraid my readers will' credit me 
with " stretching it " to say he very shortly was brought 
in the third time ; but most assuredly he was, and by a 
constable who stated the dog would not leave him, and 
that he had no alternative. This was getting beyond a 
joke, and I could not say who got tired first we in 
communicating, or the owner in replying. Of one thing 
1 am sure ; not a week passed during that season with- 
out " Prince " giving us a visit. If no one would accom- 
pany him, he found his way alone into the station, and 
after a walk round through the various rooms, and, as 
we used to say, had " reported himself " and received 
a few pats and strokes, from us, which he evidently 
appeared very much to appreciate, " Prince " would 
then quickly take his departure and trot off in the 
direction of home. 

Finally, in closing this subject for the information 
of owners or those in charge of dogs who may not 
happen to know I will endeavour to briefly describe 
the appearance of dogs that become rabid, or are seized 
with fits (fits are most prevalent in the hot weather). 
I do not profess to be an expert on canine diseases, but 
I claim to have had a certain amount of experience with 
such cases in the Park, and possibly what I am able to 
state may not be without some helpfulness in alleviating 
or ending the sufferings of any unfortunate animal that 
may be so affected. The symptoms indicating a dog as. 



DOG MUZZLING. 



being rabid or (mad) are its excited rushing about, 
yelping, snapping, an unnatural glare of the eyes, and 
foaming at the mouth, and the sooner it can be destroyed 
the better for every one concerned. In the case of a 
dog seized with a fit, is that it usually drops on its side 
and rapidly works its legs as though running, occasion- 
ally pivoting its body round like a wheel. Buckets or 
cans of water liberally thrown or poured on the head I 
always found to be most effectual in restoring the dog 
to its natural state again. 




XIX. THE "GUARDS" AND 
"VOLUNTEERS." 

rv- LTHOUGH I am unable to give an elaborate or 
lengthy account of the movements of these dis- 
tinguished bodies, I cannot refrain from giving a 
short chapter of my experience having had on so many 
occasions to attend ; for, as everyone knows, they are 
conspicuous figures in Hyde Park during the summer 
months, and as a matter of course the police are always 
in attendance to assist in keeping the ground, etc., on 
the occasion of reviews, inspections, and even ordinary 
battalion drills. The " Guards' Ground" is the premier 
portion of the Park utilised for these spectacular dis- 
plays a fine, level expanse on the east side, and fronting 
Park Lane ; superfluous to describe, as it is so familiarly 
known to be almost the exclusive property of the Foot 
Guards. The other drill ground is on the south or 
Knightsbridge side of the Park, and is known as " The 
Exhibition Ground," named in consequence of it being 
the site of the Great Exhibition of 1851 ; a nice tract of 
ground, but not quite so extensive as the " Guards." It 
is chiefly used by the Household Cavalry (which ever 
regiment may be quartered at Knightsbridge Barracks), 
also by different corps of rifle volunteers for their 
evolutions. 

In referring to Knightsbridge Barracks I may men- 
tion that the band of the regiment plays selections of 
music in front of the officers' quarters, which face Hyde 
Park, frequently during the season, usually at midday, 
and is considerably patronised by those riding, driving 
and walking. No military display of any particular 
magnitude happened during my service in the Park, but 
judging from what I have heard and read, there must 
have been some gigantic and imposing sights years ago. 



THE "GUARDS" AND "VOLUNTEERS." 73 

An elderly gentleman in the Park once told me that he 
remembered seeing the old Duke of Wellington (to use 
his words) " Fight the Battle of Waterloo over again in 
Hyde Park." That must indeed have been an imposing 
sight, if such a thing ever happened. However, be that 
as it may, there is no doubt there is not the number of 
troops simultaneously paraded now as used to be in 
years past. 

The great review of thirty thousand provincial 
volunteers in July, 1876, by H.M. the King when Prince 
of Wales, being the only approach that I am aware of. 
Of course we had the annual inspection, or" The Duke's 
Inspection " (Duke of Cambridge) as it was familiarly 
known, of the brigade of Guards, and was looked for- 
ward to as one of the principal events of the " Season." 
A more impressive and unique sight I never witnessed 
than the " March Past " of this magnificent column. 
The stirring music of the massed bands, playing to each 
regiment its respective favourite regimental tune or 
march " The Grenadiers," " The British Grenadiers," 
"The Scots," " Bonnie Laddie," and so on, ranks straight 
as an arrow, firm and rigid, so to speak, as a brick wall, 
as company after company swept past the Duke sur- 
rounded by his brilliant staff, at the saluting point 
that in itself was enough to make a lasting impression 
on one. 

With reference to the volunteers. Saturday even- 
ings during the months of May, June and July are 
occupied by the different corps in their Inspection 
Battalion drills, etc., and most tiresome duty it is to 
keep ground on these particular occasions, for there 
are so many children in the Park, in fact all ages and 
classes for that, and the constant encroaching and 
straggling about over the cleared space was not con- 
ducive to one keeping the best of tempers. Business 
being practically over for the week, a great number 
of people flock to the Park to see the Volunteers 
drill, both to the " Guards " and " Exhibition Grounds," 
the latter being a favourite place for the London 
Scottish and London Irish; the "Guards" being 
equally patronised by other corps ; the 24th Middlesex 



HYDE PARK. 



(Post Office) usually have their inspection Saturday 
mid-day on one of the above months on the Guards' 
ground. * The late Major-General Sir Henry Trotter 
for many years was Inspecting Officer to the various 
corps. 




* In speaking of General Trotter, his high and able abilities 
as a Military Officer are too well known, and needs no reminding 
from me ; but I would just like to say and I do so from personal 
experience that a more genial gentleman, one could not wish to 
work for. It was not unusual for him in order to accomplish a 
particular movement on the part of the troops to his satisfaction 
to remain until the dusky hours began to set in. After making 
his final remarks to the officers and men. he seldom left the field 
without giving a word or two of thanks to the Police for their 
services in keeping the ground. 



XX. SOCIALIST RIOTS. 

concluding this little book, I shall give a brief 
account of the "Battle of Hyde Park" as we 
policemen used to call it: that was during the 
Socialist Riots in 1887, most of my elder readers 
remember that anxious time in the West End of 
London. I have very good reason to remember it, 
for I received a serious injury to my back on that 
occasion, which confined me to my bed for some time. 
The looting of shops, and smashing windows, by these 
mobs of so-called unemployed or socialists, was not an 
infrequent occurrence. Take, for instance, only a short 
time prior to this, their riotous proceedings after leaving 
the Park, in North Audley Street, Grosvenor Square. 
We were, however, on this occasion determined that 
no want of precaution should result in a repetition of 
such wanton lawlessness. 

On the 18th October, 1887, we had information 
that a large body of these men had left Trafalgar 
Square to march to Hyde Park to hold a meeting 
there, and at about 2 p.m. they began to come into the 
Park at Apsley Gate in large numbers, and proceeded 
to that part of the Park between- Marble Arch and 
Grosvenor Gate, where they were addressed by their 
leaders for about two hours ; it was then given out that 
they would have a " march round " that meant parad- 
ing through the streets, and squares, and they all, I 
should think not far short of a thousand, made a move 
across the Park in the direction of Victoria Gate. We 
went down that slope that lies about midway between 
Grosvenor and Victoria Gates. I don't forget hearing 
the cracking of the boughs from the trees as we pro- 
ceeded along, and saw some of the scoundrels supplying 
themselves with cudgels, it then occurred to me mischief 
was brewing. I remarked this to another sergeant, whom 
I happened to be walking near ; he said, " Yes, and we 
had better keep together, as there are not many of us." 



- 76 HYDE PARK. 



I really don't think there were more than twenty police 
present when \ve started, but we soon got reinforced. 
There certainly were a few mounted constables, who 
had been on the alert near GrosvenorGate, in readiness 
to accompany us, and these, on our moving off across 
the grass, trotted round the road and waited at Victoria 
Gate, where the crowd was expected to leave the Park. 
Upon our approach, and seeing the mounted men near 
the gate (Victoria), there appeared to be from what 
cause I could not think at the time a stampede and a 
general rush was made across the road to a small foot 
gate, known as Clarendon Gate, it is opposite Clarendon 
Place, Bayswater Road. I was anxious to get out with 
them in the event of their committing any depredation, 
but, simultaneously, the mounted men galloped up and 
barred their egress, in fact, with other foot constables, 
forced them back into the Park. In leaving the Park 
by this gate there is a slight incline of the path, which 
was iron-railed on each side. I had succeeded in 
getting a yard or two up this incline, but the pressure 
from the back and the blockade by police at the Gate 
fairly wedged us in for a few seconds ; all was panic 
now, and a big rush was made back into the Park. It 
was at this critical moment I was injured, for the im- 
petus was so great that about a dozen or more big 
fellows fell headlong on top of me and we all went to 
the ground. I was underneath, and I thought my back 
was broken. A brother Sergeant (Kebby) came to my 
assistance, and with a constable dragged me out, and 
placed me on a seat close by, where I became un- 
conscious. He left the constable in charge of me and 
proceeded into the melee, where he, I was informed, 
very soon got roughly treated himself. Upon my coming 
to, things had become tolerably quiet, for the mob had 
rushed across to the more open part of the Park, but 
what attracted my attention was the number of old 
hats, sticks, stones, pieces of iron railings, etc., that laid 
about the paths and roadway. Evidently our men had 
been letting them have a hot time of it. I was asked if 
1 would be conveyed to the Hospital, but I desired to 
go home, and was taken in a cab. 



SOCIALIST RIOTS. 77 



Perhaps a short paragraph from part of "The 
Daily Telegraph " on that occurrence will not be un- 
interesting, it will certainly convey more graphically, 
than I can, to my readers the sort of characters the 
Police had to deal with at that time. 

" DAILY TELEGRAPH," October 19th, 1887. 

" Led by the scarlet flag carried by a youth, the 

" men trooped across the Park in the direction of 

" Victoria Gate, singing the chorus of a song which the 

" demonstrators had done their best to make popular. 

" There was no regular formation, the men probably 

" over a thousand in number, straggling as they pleased, 

" and covering a wide area of ground. As soon as the 

" move was manifest, the horsemen (mounted police) 

" at Grosvenor Gate galloped round the row and 

' headed off the men, whilst bodies of constables on 

" foot were hurried along under cover of the trees. 

" Foiled in their efforts to reach Victoria Gate, which 

" would have afforded adequate means of egress, the 

" crowd suddenly turned, thinking to outwit the police 

" by quitting the Park by the two smaller gates into the 

" Uxbridge Road opposite Clarendon Place and Albion 

" Street. But the police officers were too quick for the 

" undisciplined mob; Supt. Huntley had halted his men 

" inside the Victoria Gate, which had led to the flank 

" movement of the crowd, and more mounted patrols 

" were already in the roadway by the time the foremost 

" of the demonstrators arrived at the lesser exits men- 

" tioned, while inside the Park the constables were in 

" the position to dispute the passage of procession. 

" Consequently, when the roughs saw in front of them 

" a body of policemen, outside as well as inside the 

" railings, there was a general flight and a backward 

" rush. About a dozen men went down in a heap, and 

" others took advantage of the opportunity to assault 

" the police, one of whom, Sergeant Owen 62 A. was 

" so badly crushed, that he was incapacitated from 

"further duty. Another Sergeant, Kebby 12 A., was 

11 twice beaten to the earth, and in the struggle he lost 

" his helmet. Blows were dealt on all sides and blooJ 

" flowed. The banner-bearer turned, ran across the 



78 HYDE PARK. 



' ride and rallied his men to some extent in the open. 
' Some of the ruffians seized the park chairs and con- 
' verted them into formidable weapons. Others up- 
' rooted the iron hurdles and broke off the pronged feet 
' for a similar purpose." 

Fortunately the ringleaders were apprehended and 
sentenced to various terms of imprisonment, and so far 
as Hyde Park was concerned nothing further took place 
in the way of riotous proceedings by Socialists, for very 
shortly afterwards came that memorable Sunday in 
Trafalgar Square, where they were finally smashed up 
by the police and military. I was not present, so cannot 
go into details, but there is no doubt that the Socialists 
received their coup-de-grace on that occasion, at all 
events. I was, as I have already stated, laid up for a 
few weeks, but I am thankful to say, I was able to 
return to duty again, and continued until I completed 
my full service, and was granted my pension at Hyde 
Park 




UC SOUTHERN R 



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